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Jailer accused of attacking praying inmate

Inmate believes it was payback for talking to US Marshal's inspectors
Posted at 6:51 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 16:54:15-05

CLEVELAND — Multiple sources confirm to 5 On Your Side Investigators that a Cuyahoga County jailer faces discipline after an inmate engaged in prayer says he was attacked and placed in a chokehold by a member of the jail's Security Response Team, known to inmates as "The Men in Black."

The incident reportedly happened in early November.

Sources say the inmate, who is a practicing Muslim, was told he had to pray in a different part of the jail.

When he refused, words were exchanged and the Cleveland Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the inmate "was then attacked from behind by a corrections officer, picked up and held off the ground by his neck until he felt he couldn't breathe, and then dragged in a chokehold over some distance, and slammed on his face onto the concrete floor."

"Obviously if that occurred, there has to be steps taken," said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish after 5 On Your Side Investigators asked him about the allegations against the jailer.

CAIR says it received letters from the inmate outlining the allegations. Along with alleging that his religious rights were violated, CAIR said in a statement, the inmate "believes the assault by the corrections officer was in retaliation for his speaking out to the US Marshal's personnel regarding conditions in the facility."

In its report, the Marshal's review team noted "strong and consistent allegations of brutality, use of force punishment, and cruel treatment at the hands of the Security Response Team" against inmates.

RELATED: Protesters demand changes at Cuyahoga County jail

A Cuyahoga County spokeswoman confirmed the officer faces discipline for unnecessary physical contact with an inmate, excessive use of force and other rule violations.

The officer has only worked in the jail for one year. He remains on the job.

A hearing on the allegations is scheduled later this week.

"We call upon all relevant officials to investigate this matter thoroughly and carry out appropriate disciplinary measures," said CAIR in a statement. "We also call upon Cuyahoga County to provide resources and funding sufficient to ensure that all staff are properly trained on use of force procedures as well as on the religious rights of inmates, so that consitutional rights of those under detention are protected."

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