Over the weekend, two videos went viral showing Cuyahoga County corrections officers using force on restrained inmates in two separate incidents.
In the first video, which was released on March 22 after months of delays, Terrance Debose, 47, is seen strapped to a chair, in a tiny cell in Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland. As the video continues, officer Nicholas Evans approaches, turns his body camera off and proceeds to attack Debose, striking him in the face several times.
Timothy Dugan, a second corrections officer, then approaches Debose and punches him in the face, before the two, who have since been indicted, leave the victim to bleed out for the next two hours.
The incident lasted about 13 seconds but was just one of many videos that showed the history of abuse at the Cuyahoga County jail.
Debose, who suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness, also suffered from a concussion as a result of the incident. While Debose was initially jailed for cocaine possession and tampering with evidence, he has since been indicted on charges of aggravated burglary, felonious assault, and theft. Meanwhile, Evans was charged with felonious assault, while Dugan was charged with misdemeanor assault. Both officers were charged with violating Debose’s civil rights and pleaded not guilty in April.
In the second video, which occurred back in July 2018, a woman, who is also strapped into a chair, is seen being pepper sprayed by officers, and now, the woman is suing.
“Despite repeated requests and entreaties, including to new Cuyahoga County Law Director Greg Huth, the county has not yet provided Ms. Glass with a single record related to her detention or attack – despite releasing some of them to the press,” Chantelle Glass’ attorney said in their complaint. “Last July based on an old misdemeanor warrant out of New Jersey they booked her into Cuyahoga County Corrections Center, where, she states, jailers refused to let her make a phone call to tell her family where she was or to find a lawyer.”
According to Glass, via her attorney Subodh Chandra, as she demanded a phone call, pounding on the cell door to get the guard’s attention, the officer reportedly threatened to restrain her and mace her if the disruption continued.
“When she continued to demand a phone call, corrections officer followed through on their threat,” Chandra said. “Corporal Idris-Farid Clark began preparing to attack Ms. Glass before she even entered the room, shaking his bottle of pepper spray in anticipation. Corrections Officer Robert Marsh then brought Ms. Glass out of her cell and strapped her into a restraint chair. Once she was in the chair and strapped down, Marsh hit her in the face, and Clark grabbed her hair while emptying his bottle of pepper spray into her face. Other officers stood by and did nothing.”
Glass said after the incident, the officers drowned her in a bucket of water and left her in the cell for hours. She was later released without charges, but the officers were both indicted on multiple charges, including assault and unlawful restraint, to which they pleaded not guilty.
To make matters worse, in the last two months, seven corrections officers and the jail’s former director have been indicted on charges connected to misconduct, from assault to excessive force to refusing medical treatment for inmates.