7 Ohio Prison Workers Fired After Black Inmate Dies | national news
The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has sent a referral notice to five correctional officers, a supervisor and a registered nurse following an investigation into the in-custody death of 55-year-old Michael McDaniel.
Security footage released by the agency in July showed McDaniel collapsing on his own and being taken down to the ground by prison guards at least 16 times before dying at the Orient Correctional Reception Center, a suburb from Columbus on February 6.
“We are responsible for what happened in this video,” director Annette Chambers-Smith told reporters in July, after releasing surveillance footage of the incident. “There is no doubt about it.”
One of the officers involved, Heath Causey, is accused in files released Friday of performing a ‘teardown’ of McDaniel as the inmate was escorted outside without shoes or coat and while wearing a white t-shirt torn, “causing his body to leave the footpath and land face down in a snowy area.
Disciplinary records also indicate that Lt. Bruce Brown “took no action to prevent” McDaniel from falling to the ground and did not call for help to “transport him safely” to the medical center after officers correction had used excessive force.
The majority of the encounters appear to occur under the gaze of more than half a dozen officers. The department concluded that the 16 times McDaniel hit the ground were preventable and due to the negligent care of the staff who ran him.
Once McDaniel arrived at the medical center, the report says his physical took less than a minute and the unidentified nurse who treated him did not do a standard exam or check his vital signs. .
Guards then escorted McDaniel out of the facility where he last collapsed before CPR began and an ambulance was called. He passed away shortly after.
Four hours later, the agency claims Jamie Dukes, a registered nurse, signed a medical document that McDaniels refused to receive care. “However, Ms. Dukes was not in the room to hear inmate McDaniel refuse treatment,” the records indicate. The agency said McDaniel never refused treatment and Dukes was also fired on Friday. There is no video surveillance in the examination rooms.
An email requesting comment was left with the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association, the union representing correctional officers.
“That’s not what we trained people to do,” Chambers-Smith said last month. “Not everyone is suited to correctional work and those who are not should be fired. “
The Franklin County Coroner’s Office had declared McDaniel’s death a homicide and determined the cause to be “sudden stress-induced cardiac death.” The autopsy detailed the injuries to the head, face, shoulders, wrists, hands, knees, feet, toes and abdomen. McDaniel also had multiple rib fractures and the coroner found signs of heart disease.
Prison officials said three other staff involved in the incident had previously resigned, some even before the investigation was completed.
A county attorney will make a decision on any criminal charges against jail employees.
Farnoush Amiri is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.
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