Dylann Roof, the white man who claimed he wanted to start a race war when he killed nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church, was ambushed Thursday by a black inmate while preparing for a shower at the Charleston County jail.
He took a defensive stance but didn’t fight back as Dwayne Marion Stafford got in some blows, according to Sheriff Al Cannon. The attack was broken up within seconds, and 22-year-old Roof suffered minor injuries — some bruising his face and back.
Two detention officers were supposed to be with Roof during his shower around 7:45 a.m., but one had taken a break and the other was called to take toilet paper to a nearby cell, Cannon said.
Inmates in cells surrounding the open showers were supposed to be locked in, but Stafford, 25, of Goose Creek, somehow got out and charged down the stairs at Roof while he was unsupervised.
It was initially announced that Stafford would be charged with third-degree assault and battery, a misdemeanor, but Cannon said Roof and his attorney, Ashley Pennington, expressed no desire to pursue charges in the case. Pennington could not be reached for comment. Charges could still be brought in the case, but it would be difficult without a cooperating witness, Cannon said.
How Stafford got out of his cell remains a major part of the Sheriff’s Office investigation. He could have been let out, or there could have been an electronic malfunction with the cell locks. It was also unknown Thursday why one of the officers took a break during Roof’s shower time, which broke protocol, Cannon said.
“It seems to me, pretty obvious at this point, that at the very least, we have complacency,” he said. “We do things day in, day out, and they become routine, and as a result of that, it’s sometimes easy to become complacent. This certainly serves as a work wake-up call.”
SOURCE: Angie Jackson and Melissa Boughton
The Post & Courier