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2 Ind. deputies fired following investigation into deputy’s death by inmate

The deputies were let go “involving job performance on July 10, 2023,” when an inmate used handcuffs to strangle Deputy John Durm, the sheriff’s office said


Marion County Sheriff’s Office

By Sarah Roebuck

INDIANAPOLIS — Two deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office have been fired following an investigation into the death of Deputy John Durm, WTHR reports.

The deputies, who were not identified, were let go “involving job performance on July 10, 2023,” when inmate Orlando Mitchell allegedly used his handcuffs to strangle Durm as the deputy transported Mitchell back to the jail following a hospital visit.

Citing general orders from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, WTHR states the sheriff’s office potentially violated its own policies and procedures.

The sheriff’s office police states, “It shall be the policy of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Jail Division, to provide the necessary level of supervision and control for inmates who must be transported.”

During the incident on July 10, Durm was the only person transporting Mitchell to the hospital.

The policy goes on to state, “Escorts shall be accomplished utilizing either two or one deputies, dependent upon the type of transport and custody level of the inmate.”

“High-risk transports shall entail a transport team comprised of at least two CERT members. Transports such as a non-emergency transport to Eskenazi Hospital, shall utilize two jail deputies,” according to the policy.

A probable cause affidavit states that video shows Durm arriving at the detention center about 11:30 a.m. on July 10 in a Marion County Sheriff’s Office van after returning from taking Mitchell to a hospital visit.

The video shows Durm exit the van and open its rear door, at which point Mitchell opened the van’s inner door and is seen raising his hands above Durm’s head and placing them around Durm’s neck, according to the affidavit.

“Mitchell then uses the chain linking his handcuffs to choke Deputy Durm,” it states, adding that while Durm tried to get the chain off of his neck, both he and Mitchell fell to the ground.

According to officials, Mitchell then discovered a handcuff key belonging to Durm. He used the key to unlock his own handcuffs, entered the van, reversed it and drove out of the detention center’s sally port. During his exit, he collided with a gate, causing damage. Subsequently, Mitchell drove the van a brief distance before colliding with a wooden pole. He was apprehended by other deputies and taken back into custody.