latest headlines

Montgomery County voting to settle another lawsuit against jail

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 10:21 AM
By: Mark Gokavi, Chris Stewart, Josh Sweigart - Staff Writer

The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners will vote later this month to approve a $58,000 payment that would settle former inmate Darryl Wallace’s civil lawsuit against the county and the jail.

The proposed settlement would be at least the third in a recent spate of civil rights lawsuits filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court against the county and jail. The three settlements total $508,000. Several more lawsuits are pending against the county.

VIDEO: Surveillance camera catches altercation between inmate and officer

Wallace claimed that now-fired corrections officer Jerrid Campbell “viciously beat” Wallace with impunity, according to court records. The Sept. 28, 2015, altercation was captured on surveillance video.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has said it tried to prosecute Campbell, but that charges were not approved by prosecutors.

A 156-page internal investigation obtained by this news organization through the Ohio open records law shows the case against Campbell was presented to the prosecutor’s officeon Nov. 5, 2015.

The assistant prosecutor handling the case wrote that there was “insufficient evidence to charge any felony” noting that Campbell was the only officer in D-Pod and that the detective who presented the case agreed with the ”refusal” to prosecute.

The civil rights, excessive force lawsuit claimed that Wallace complained to Campbell that his cell’s hot water wasn’t working and Campbell refused to call maintenance.

I-TEAM SPECIAL PROJECT: Justice in the Jailhouse

Wallace called Campbell a name, the lawsuit said, and walked away before Campbell ordered him to stop and shoved Wallace to the ground.

“Campbell then pummeled Mr. Wallace with punch after punch while holding handcuffs and using them like brass knuckles,” Wallace’s attorney’s wrote. “(Wallace) was bleeding from his scalp.”

Wallace claimed he regularly experiences migraine headaches so bad “it feels like his forehead swells, the pain paralyzes him, and he vomits.” The suit also said Wallace’s vision has worsened since the incident.

Campbell argued that he acted appropriately given the situation, according to the sheriff’s office internal investigation.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Twitter or Facebook

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer has said Campbell was fired for “violations of numerous policies.”

According to sheriff’s office documents, those violations included: using racist slurs against Plummer and other command staff members; failing to allow an inmate access to a dentist; two violations of use of force; an inappropriate Facebook post about a co-worker, making inaccurate and untruthful statements to the Dayton Daily News; making similar statements to the Dayton Weekly News.

Campbell was initially suspended a total of 23 days for those alleged violations, and eventually was fired.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

Campbell didn’t comment when the lawsuit was filed but has said he was fired “for exposing the segregation in the jail and for writing a complaint against Phil Plummer plus the rest of his racist command staff for creating a racist atmosphere towards black officer (sic) and threatening (other officers) for speaking out against racism.”

Montgomery County paid $375,000 to settle a suit brought by Amber Swink, who was pepper-sprayed while in restraints. The county also paid $75,000 to Marsha Pate-Strickland, who claimed a corrections officer violently threw her to the floor after refusing her request for milk instead of juice.

“A settlement, approved by Sheriff Plummer, between him, Montgomery County, and the plaintiff has been reached,” a statement from the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office read. “However, the necessary documents have not yet been signed by all of the parties or filed with the court.”

“I hope Mr. Wallace can move on and live a great, productive life for himself and his family,” Campbell said when reached by this news organization.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE MOBILE APPS FOR LATEST BREAKING NEWS