EMDC Employees Fired Over Inmate Death
Five guards and a supervisor at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre have been fired over the death of Adam Kargus, OPSEU says.
The facility is on lockdown as employees exercise their right to refuse work. Only essential services are being provided.
Two corrections officers and one manager at the jail face criminal charges of failing to provide the necessities of life after Kargus, 29, was beaten to death in his cell on October 31, 2013. Those cases are all still before the courts.
The three charged are identified as 47-year-old Corrections Officer Lesley Lonsbary, 55-year-old Corrections Officer Gregory Langford and 52-year-old Operational Manager Stephen Jurkus. Both Lonsbary and Langford were let go today.
“It’s unfortunate that the ministry did not wait until the criminal charges have been dealt with,” says OPSEU Corrections Chair Dan Sidsworth. “These officers grievances that they’re filing won’t be able to be dealt with until criminal charges have been dealt with, so they’ll be without employment until that criminal case is dealt with and it could take up to two years.”
In a statement released today, OPSEU says the dismissal of the six employees undermines the justice system.
“We are saddened by this death and send our condolences to the family of the victim,” notes OPSEU President Warren Thomas. “While we cannot comment on the specifics of these dismissals as they are before the courts and now the grievance process, we find it gravely troubling that front-line officers are being held out as the scapegoats for a broken correctional system that the government fails to address.”
OPSEU calls the facility overcrowded, outdated and says it lacks the proper staffing and staff training.
“For over 24 months we have said that tragedies would occur at EMDC unless the problems that have been identified by front-line officers were fixed,” says Thomas. “From the beginning, the Ministry resisted making changes. Now, lives have been lost and the very people who raised the concerns are being fired. This is heart-breaking on all levels.”
Inmate Anthony George has been charged with second degree murder in connection to the death of Kargus.