GENEVA – Five days before Tywon Salters took nurses hostage at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital on May 13, 2017, a Kane County corrections sergeant sent an email to 19 other correction officers to warn them of the jail detainee’s desperation.
The message was sent at 10:30 p.m. May 8, 2017, by Sgt. Michael Huston to the midnight shift.
“Salters ate parts of his shoe, was sent to the E.R. and is about to undergo surgery,” Huston’s email stated. “Springer #507 has security detail until 0200, then Hunt #423,” Huston wrote, referring to corrections officers Randy Springer and Justin Hunt. “Salters should be considered an extreme escape risk as he is desperate to not be in custody. He should be restrained with leg irons hooked up to the bed at all times.”
The text of the email was included in a grievance filed against Kane County Sheriff Donald Kramer by corrections officers who were disciplined in connection with the Delnor incident. A copy of the three-page grievance was provided anonymously to the Kane County Chronicle.
The union’s attorney, Timothy O’Neil, stated in an email that because the grievance provided to the Kane County Chronicle was not signed, he could not validate it. However, the Chronicle did receive the full email from Huston to his staff in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.
Kramer would not comment on the issue, citing pending litigation.
According to a federal lawsuit filed by four nurses and two of their husbands, Salters, 21, raped, tortured and beat one of two nurses he took hostage before he was killed by a Kane County SWAT team.
The lawsuit, which still is pending, alleged that as Salters was facing a long prison term, he should have been viewed as a security risk and should have been guarded by two corrections officers, not one, as was the case.
The lawsuit also alleged that Salters was unshackled every time he had to use the restroom.
The sheriff’s office now sends two officers with detainees who go to the hospital, officials stated in an email to the Kane County Chronicle about changes it has made in the year since the incident.
Grievance by corrections officers
The invalidated grievance filed by the Policeman’s Benevolent Labor Council and dated Dec. 1, 2017, alleges that Kramer was “consciously negligent” ... for not adequately training officers and for not following a policy that requires detainees to be in restraints at all times while at a medical facility unless the medical condition prohibits its use.
“The sheriff violated his own policies, by letter and in spirit, by not providing at least two correctional officers to maintain safety and security while detainee Salters was receiving treatment at Delnor Hospital following one of his three suicide attempts while incarcerated at the Kane County Adult Justice Center,” the grievance stated.
“The administration was aware of Salters’ charges, unpredictable behavior, suicide watch status, and escape risk. This is proven in an email that was sent from a supervisor on May 8, 2017,” the grievance stated, referring to Huston’s email.
“This, along with the fact that the union met with the sheriff and voiced their concern regarding safety and security over only one officer being assigned to the hospital detail key assignment regardless of the detainee’s charges, behavior, or escape risk, proves that the sheriff was consciously negligent in disregarding his own policies,” the grievance stated.
“Officers were also sent to the hospital alone without any means of immediate communication with Kane Comm other than being ordered to bring and use their personal cellphones,” the grievance stated.
The grievance objected to officers being disciplined in connection with Salters and called for all instances of discipline be removed and expunged from the officers’ files.
In the Freedom of Information Act request to the sheriff’s office, the Kane County Chronicle also sought copies of the union’s grievances regarding corrections officers who were disciplined in connection with the Delnor hostage situation.
The request was denied, citing an exemption relating to a public body’s legal review of employee grievances or disciplinary cases, some of which are currently the subject of pending arbitration. The denial noted the final outcome of cases in which discipline is imposed can be released.
Kramer responded in an email that the grievance “is incomplete and has not been executed.”