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2 jailers on trial for alleged assault that left tooth lodged in inmate's nasal cavity

John Wilson and Jason Jozwiak charged in 2018 case
Jailers in court
Posted at 6:17 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 18:45:23-04

CLEVELAND — Prosecutors call it an assault, but defense attorneys for two Cuyahoga County jailers say their clients were just doing their jobs when an inmate ended up with three of his teeth knocked out.

Corrections Officer John Wilson is charged with felonious assault, interfering with civil rights and unlawful restraint after investigators say he repeatedly hit inmate Joshua Castleberry in the head inside his cell.

Corporal Jason Jozwiak is charged with interfering with civil rights and falsification. Prosecutors say Jozwiak refused to allow a nurse to care for Castleberry as he sat in a restraint chair for hours with a broken nose and broken teeth.

On Tuesday, jurors toured the 10th floor housing unit where investigators say the assault took place. Video surveillance and body camera video did not capture the fight between Castleberry and and Wilson. Instead, it showed Wilson walk into Castleberry's cell. A short time later, several officers run to the cell. When Castleberry is removed, video showed him bloody, his face covered with pepper spray. He was handcuffed and put into a restraint chair.

On the witness stand, the oral surgeon who treated the 21-year-old recalled what Castleberry said happened.

"He says that about four hours ago a corrections officer slammed him to the ground onto his face while he was handcuffed and slammed his face against the floor a couple more times," said Dr. Justin Clemow. "He lost three teeth. Two of which were brought here with him."

Prosecutors said a third tooth was lodged in Castleberry's nasal cavity and required surgery. Clemow said the bone that held his teeth in place was also shattered, making re-implanting Castleberry's teeth impossible.

In an attempt to cast doubt on Castleberry's story, Wilson's defense attorney highlighted the surgeon's testimony that Castleberry's injuries didn't appear to be caused by his mouth hitting a flat surface. Clemow said it was more likely to be caused by hitting a step, window sill or toilet in the cell.

Testimony is scheduled to resume Wednesday.

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