Union: Employee suspended for sending photos during Adams County prison shooting

Written by Eric Blum, Evening Sun | Apr 27, 2015 11:13 AM

(Adams County) -- A York-Adams Mental Health Program employee has been suspended without pay for sending photos from inside Adams County prison during a shooting incident earlier this month, according to a news release from the union that oversees the employee.

The employee, who union officials declined to name, sent family members photos taken inside the prison during an incident involving an active gunman, according to the release from the 668 chapter of the Service Employees International Union.

Jess Leipold, 31, went to the prison April 9 with an AR-15 style rifle and a Glock pistol, prompting a 35-minute standoff with State Police. Leipold was shot once by an officer and died hours later at York Hospital.

The employee has had her prison access revoked as photos are not allowed to be taken inside the facility, according to the release.

"She was allowed to have a cell phone on her, but not to take pictures," said Steve Jarrell, business agent for Service Employees International Union.

The employee, who was hiding under a desk during the standoff, took pictures of the lobby and the police presence outside the prison and sent them to family members, Jarrell said.

One of them got posted online and WGAL used the photo in its coverage of the shooting incident, according to the release.

WGAL president and general manager John Humphries said the news organization found the photo on social media. Journalists received permission from the person who posted the picture before adding it to their online coverage of the prison standoff, Humphries said.

Union officials said they have asked the mental health organization to lift the suspension and remove it from the employee's record, according to the release.

"We fully support our member and if necessary, will litigate this unjust treatment," said Tom Herman, president of the local union chapter.

Officials from the Adams County prison and the York-Adams Mental Health Program did not immediately respond to phone calls.

District Attorney Shawn Wagner was not immediately available for comment.

This article comes to us through a partnership between York Daily Record and WITF. 

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