CLEVELAND — A Cuyahoga County Jail corrections officer has been reprimanded for his treatment of an inmate last November, just weeks before the U.S. Marshals would release a report on horrid conditions at the facility.
Officer Brandon Smith was written up Feb. 8, according to personnel documents.
According to records obtained by 5 On Your Side Investigators, the reprimand stems from an altercation where Smith tried to put handcuffs on an inmate on Nov. 1, 2018 when the U.S. Marshals review team was at the jail.
Smith later told supervisors an inmate disrespected him and acted aggressively towards him. Smith said he put the inmate against a wall and then pushed him away when other officers arrived.
According to Smith’s disciplinary documents, when other guards arrived, he “continued to take an aggressive stance with said inmate until he was secured in his cell.”
Following the incident, Smith allegedly referred to the inmate as a “snitch.”
Records show a supervisor asked the officer, "the inmate is stating that ever since he spoke to the outside agency that was here last week, you have been calling him a snitch. Is that true?" Smith denied the allegation.
A statement from a nurse who says she witnessed the altercation tells a different story.
"Man shut up. You are a snitch anyway," she recalled the officer saying.
Smith's write-up states that he violated Cuyahoga County's Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual. Specifically, Smith broke Rule No. 23, and was ignorant of the "rules, regulations, and general orders" of the sheriff's office.
Furthermore, the written reprimand states that Smith's behavior was "considered so unacceptable that another infraction will place (Smith) in jeopardy of more significant disciplinary action," including suspension or removal from his position.
According to personnel documents, Smith is a member of the Special Response Team, more commonly referred to as “The Men in Black” by inmates at the jail.
It was a SRT member's dialogue with inmates in front of the U.S. Marshals review team that led them to request removal of up to 10 inmates at the facility for fear of retaliation by SRT members, as well as concerns about inmate safety.