Deputy arrested, 4 others fired following death of Chatham Co. inmate

Crime & Safety

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A deputy has been arrested and now four other employees have been fired following the death of an inmate at the Chatham County Detention Center.

Authorities say Lee Michael Creely, 34, was found dead in his cell on Sunday, Sept. 6, during a routine check.

Lee Michael Creely (right) courtesy of The Claiborne Firm, PC

Medical staff responded immediately, as is protocol. But lifesaving measures attempted by officers, medical staff and EMS were unsuccessful.

Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher said an internal investigation led to the arrest of a Deputy Terence Jackson for charges of falsifying documents in the logbook.

Wilcher said Jackson failed to check on Creely and then lied about it.

The sheriff announced on Thursday, Sept. 10, two other jail employees had been terminated for “not doing their jobs.” The following day a fourth officer was found negligent in their duties, resulting in termination.

And on Friday, Sept. 18, Wilcher said a fifth officer, who failed to perform security checks, was let go.

“I’m not going to tolerate it, you know, we have a job to do here, these people need to be treated humanely,” said Wilcher, “and these officers need to do their job that they are taught to do.”

Watch the sheriff’s full press conference:

Creely’s family says firing three deputies and arresting one is a step in the right direction, but they say they’ve received no information about his death.

“The family has no idea how or why Mr. Creely died. They found out about the officers being fired and one being arrested from social media,” said the family’s attorney, Will Claiborne, in a statement.

“Being kept in the dark has only served to deepen their hurt and anguish,” he continued. “The Creely family is calling on the GBI and Sheriff to immediately release all of the information about Mr. Creely’s death.”

Wilcher says his office has nothing to hide.

“I’m very transparent,” he told reporters. “I’m going to tell you what’s going on, and that’s the bottom line.”

The sheriff contacted the Georgia Bureau Investigation to conduct an independent investigation, which is now in progress.

Jackson had his arraignment last Friday and his bond was set at $3500/$4050. He was released the same day.

Creely’s cause of death is still under investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.

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