A state hearing officer has upheld disciplinary suspensions for 10 Ely State Prison guards involved in the theft of tear gas grenades from the prison's inventory following a training exercise.
Five of the guards were given the grenades by Sgt. Gilbert Cunningham after an exercise conducted by the Correctional Emergency Response Team in 2002. He handed the live grenades out as souvenirs at a barbecue.
The other five were involved either in concealing the thefts or for not reporting the incident to superiors.
Cunningham was charged with stealing state property among other violations and was fired. Hearing officer Pat Dolan upheld his termination in June.
The others were originally suspended for up to five days without pay and letters of reprimand put in their files. They appealed but Dolan agreed with prison officials that, while they were much less culpable than Cunningham, they still deserved some punishment.
Dolan upheld five-day suspensions for Arthur Boynton, Eric Dosh, Walter Romero, James Lester and Jeffrey Eldridge - who received the grenades from Cunningham - three days for Rod Watterson, two days for Patrick Cardinal and Josh Horsley, and one-day suspensions for Robert Brinkerhoff and Chad Oxborrow.
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