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Cuyahoga County to consider $140,000 settlement to former inmate who was attacked by officer while praying

Posted at 1:41 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 13:42:45-04

CLEVELAND — Cuyahoga County Council is considering a proposed $140,000 settlement in a civil action lawsuit filed by the former Cuyahoga County inmate who said he was attacked by a jailer as he prayed.

Tyrone Hipps, a practicing Muslim, claims he was attempting to pray when Corrections Officer Christopher Perdue told him to move and that he had to pray in a different part of the jail.

When Hipps refused, Perdue—member of the jail's Special Response Team, or "Men in Black,"—attacked him from behind, picked him up and held him off the ground by his neck until he felt he couldn't breathe, and then dragged him in a chokehold over some distance, and slammed his face onto the concrete floor, reports said.

Video of the incident inside of the jail shows the recording freezes for 26 seconds leading up to the incident. When the recording resumes, it shows Hipps appears to turn away from Perdue, before the officer grabbed him from behind and lifted him off the floor in what witnesses described as a chokehold. The video shows the officer carry Hipps across the room, then take him to the floor.

Attorney: 'This was an assault.' Video shows jailer grab, drag praying inmate

Jail investigators found that Perdue violated two rules: unnecessary contact with a jail inmate or prisoner in custody and any other act or failure to act which constitutes incompetency, inefficiency, dishonest, immoral conduct, insubordination, discourteous treatment of the public, failure of good behavior or other misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance in office.

Perdue, who had been working at the jail for about a year at the time of the incident, was suspended for five days without pay following the incident.

Hipps, who had spoken out to the U.S. Marshal’s personnel about the facility’s conditions, believes that he was attacked in retaliation for speaking out. The incident with Perdue occurred just days after investigators left the jail ahead of last fall's report which found "inhumane" conditions inside the jail.

The county will vote to formally approve the $140,000 settlement on Tuesday afternoon.

RELATED: Attorney: 'This was an assault.' Video shows jailer grab, drag praying inmate

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