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Ex-jailer pleads guilty to dereliction of duty and tampering with records in connection with 2018 inmate death

Sentencing set for March 15.
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Posted at 10:56 AM, Feb 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 12:02:32-05

CLEVELAND — A former Cuyahoga County jailer, who is charged for his role in an incident at the Cuyahoga County Jail where he kicked a mat next to where an inmate was having an overdose and later died in 2018, took a plea deal Wednesday.

Former jailer Martin Devring was seen in a video in August 2018 kicking a mat where inmate Joseph Arquillo died from an overdose. Devring was later fired in December after he failed to conduct required checks of inmates and falsified a log book the day of the Arquillo’s death.

Devring, who appeared in court over a Zoom meeting, pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty and tampering with records.

Judge Cassandra Collier-Williams set a sentencing date for March 15 at 10 a.m.

In the video, Arquillo appeared wobbly on his feet at times. Internal documents obtained by 5 On Your Side Investigators described Arquillo as "intoxicated" earlier that morning. Arquillo then went for medical attention. When he returned to the area where his mat was on the floor, the 47-year-old inmate appeared to bend awkwardly. Arquillo then appeared to grab his head before curling up in a corner near his bunk.

According to the video, nearly an hour passed before another inmate came over and appeared to say something to Arquillo. The inmate then walked away.

Five minutes later, the recording shows Corrections Officer Martin Devring approach Arquillo, kick the mat next to where Arquillo was curled up, and then walk away. According to disciplinary records, Devring claimed Arquillo mumbled "not interested" when the jailer asked him about eating lunch.

One inmate appears to signal that Arquillo is dead.

Officers and paramedics spent about 20 minutes working to revive Arquillo, but the inmate died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The medical examiner ruled Arquillo died of a drug overdose.

VIDEO: Video shows inmate's final hours

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