GFT: DOC officers are being made the scapegoat for the agency

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Guam – DOC Director Tony Lamorena has stated that a lack of funding to address a dilapidated Hagatna Detention facility was the underlying cause in the death of DOC Detainee Manson Ernest, and now it is alleged that the department is pointing the finger at 4 DOC officers who allegedly let their guard down.

Four of the seven DOC officers who were handed notices of proposed adverse action following the death of DOC detainee Manson Ernest are alleging that they are being made the “scapegoat for the agency in order to cover up the dire funding needs for maintenance of the facility.”

According to the GFT, who represent the four, all officers on duty during the beating of Ernest were “rookie” officers who were improperly assigned to the Hagatna Detention Facility. Further stating, ” it is impossible and improper to hold rookie officers assigned to the FDF to the standard of, proper conduct of the affairs because the detention facility has fallen into such a state of dilapidation and disrepair that it is no longer well suited or functional for its intended purpose and cannot be operated in accordance to protocol.”

DOC Director Tony Lamorena has stated to media that there were issues with the plumbing at the facility at the time of Ernest’s death. GFT agrees with DOC’s stance that the maintenance problems are the underlying factor attributing to the death of Ernest however, they contend that “there is no information that would suggest that any officer acted intentionally, recklessly, or negligently or acted or contributed in any way to the death of the inmate.”

SOURCEJolene Toves
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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.