MONROE COUNTY, Ind. — A Monroe County correctional officer has been terminated after an attempt to move a belligerent inmate turned into a brawl that resulted in the inmate suffering a fractured nose and orbital bone.

Monroe County Sheriff Ruben Martè stated he made the decision to terminate the correctional officer as part of his vow to make “accountability and transparency” a “top priority” of the sheriff’s department.

“No corrections officer wants to have to use force when they come to work,” Martè said. “But even when my staff is forced to use force due to a combative inmate, they must continue to follow our policies requiring de-escalation whenever the situation allows it.”

James Mitchell was identified as the fired correctional officer.

The sheriff released unedited body camera footage which details the Jan. 31 encounter with the combative inmate and three correctional officers, including Mitchell, within the Monroe County Jail.

The sheriff stated the correctional officers were attempting to move the inmate — identified as Marcus Ford — from a holding cell into a medical observation cell due to Ford having complained of health issues to onsite nurses.

Ford refused to leave the holding cell, however, and threatened the correctional officers with violence if they attempted to forcibly move him.

In the bodycam footage, the correctional officers can be heard spending several minutes trying to persuade Ford to leave the cell. Ford repeatedly rebukes the offers and even threatens the correctional officers with violence, daring them to come into the cell “one-by-one” and telling them, “As soon as you touch me, I’m going to knock your teeth out.”

After more than five minutes of Ford refusing to leave the cell, bodycam footage shows the officers enter into the cell and quickly grab hold of Ford. Ford resists and immediately a struggle begins between Ford and the three correctional officers.

During the struggle, Mitchell is struck in the mouth and suffers a split lip. Mitchell can be seen throwing punches at Ford’s head multiple times during the struggle. At one point, even with Ford being restrained by the other two correctional officers, Mitchell can again be seen punching Ford in the head until another officer shouts at him.

After the incident and a review of force by the jail commander, Sheriff Martè ordered an internal review and asked Indiana State Police to conduct an independent investigation to determine if crimes were committed during the struggle.

“When I ran for sheriff, I vowed that accountability and transparency would always be a top priority,” Martè said. “I immediately requested an independent investigation and am releasing the body camera footage to ensure the public will have confidence in the decisions they trust me to make.”

After the investigation, Martè made the decision to fire Mitchell who “in an admittedly difficult situation, failed to follow the high standards of the office that require de-escalation whenever possible.”

On Thursday, Indiana State Police presented their findings to Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Erika Oliphant. Oliphant decided not to press criminal charges against Mitchell.

A document detailing the decision to fire Mitchell doesn’t state that the officer used excessive force, but instead stated that Mitchell “failed to transition to non-violent strategies,” “failed to reduce the need for force” and “failed to comply with lawful directives and orders… when twice (Mitchell) was instructed to leave the area.”