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Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 7:20 AM
— Kettering City Schools will add 89 security cameras to its two middle schools this winter, increasing the total from 12 to 101.
Officials said Van Buren Middle School’s camera system will go from four cameras to 28, while the much larger Kettering Middle School will be upgraded from eight cameras to 73.
“Part of the commitment when we passed the (March 2016) levy was to continue to expand safety and security measures throughout the district,” said Ken Lackey, director of business services for the school district. “This was something that was on the wish list — to expand the camera systems at all schools.”
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Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 12:35 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 4:02 PM
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Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 3:44 PM
Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 4:19 PM
UPDATE, 4:15 p.m.: A federal jury decided Tuesday that Montgomery County did not violate David O. Cooper’s 14th amendment rights when it didn’t provide a mattress for parts of his 2012 stay in the county jail.
The jury of six men and two women deliberated for about an hour before reaching its verdict in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. The lawsuit was the first of several against the county alleging abuse and/or neglect in the jail to reach trial. Four others ended with out-of-court settlements. Several others are pending.
Attorneys representing Montgomery County did not immediately comment, but said they would have a statement soon. Plaintiff’s attorney John Helbling said: “I still think the conditions he was under were atrocious.”
Helbling said the jury had to find deliberate indifference to side with his client and that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has not ruled that a mattress is a constitutional right for inmates whereas other jurisdictions have.
EARLIER: An 8-member federal jury is deciding if a mattress is a basic necessity of modern life and, along with it, the civil rights lawsuit of a former Montgomery County Jail inmate who sued the county.
The jury heard closing arguments Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court in David O. Cooper’s lawsuit against Montgomery County.
After lunch, U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice gave instructions to the jury, which began to deliberate at about 2:30 p.m.
To prove liability and possibly award damages, Cooper’s attorney said he needed to convince the jury that one or more Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office employees violated Cooper’s 14th amendment due process rights “by depriving him of the minimal civilized measures of life’s necessities” and that they were deliberately indifferent.
Plaintiff’s attorney John Helbling also said he needed to prove that the custom and policy of the sheriff’s office was the moving force behind the actions.
Cooper, 35, has alleged that for about 3½ months of his nearly 8-month jail stay in 2012, he wasn’t provided a mattress and was forced to sleep in a brightly-lit, air-conditioned, noisy glass cell with no blanket wearing just a “suicide” robe.
“He begged and pleaded with them to get that mattress,” Helbling told the jury’s six men and two women. “The answer always came back the same: No.”
County attorney Mary Montgomery said round-table discussions were held by staff about Cooper, that “a mattress is not a minimum of life’s necessities” and that the jail did everything it could to keep Cooper alive. “If he had died, we’d still be here because they’d say we didn’t do enough.”
Both sides agreed that Cooper harmed himself in jail and those resulting in trips to medical and behavior health facilities.
“Even when he showed signs of distress, they didn’t do anything,” Helbling said. “The only place he’s being treated as a human was at a hospital.”
Montgomery said Cooper was one who drove his destiny and that the “jail was dammed if they do and damned if they didn’t,” she said, adding later that he was conniving and manipulative. “He didn’t like being in the jail. Well, who does?”
If the jury finds Montgomery County liable of the 14th amendment claim, they could award damages to Cooper.
“We don’t want your sympathy. That’s not what this is about. It’s about right and wrong,” Helbling told the jury. “The only thing we can get for Mr. Cooper is to be adequately compensated. It was not a one-shot deal. It was month after month after month. What’s it worth? That’s up to you.”
Montgomery said the jury didn’t have to get any farther than the first part of the jury instructions.
“You don’t even have to get to damages,” she said. “He was not deprived of life’s minimum necessities. A mattress is not part of that.”
The civil lawsuit is the first of several filed against jail staff in recent years for alleged abuse and/or neglect to go to trial.
Four other cases have settled for $888,000 plus the county spent another $444,000 on outside legal counsel and litigation costs, according to county records. Other cases are pending.
JUSTICE IN THE JAILHOUSE: Lawsuits, accusations plague region’s county jails
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 11:12 AM
— Voters in Greene County may see some new names for the commissioners race this year, and at least two communities and one school district will be asked to approve tax issues.
Greene County Commissioner Alan Anderson is up for re-election and has already submitted his petitions for approval by the elections board, according to Greene County Board of Elections Director Llyn McCoy. Anderson, a Republican, is currently serving his third term on the county board of commissioners.
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Susan Lopez, director at the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Family Resource Center, has announced she will challenge Anderson for the seat. Lopez and Luke Steven Bujenovic, both Democrats, have pulled petitions and each will be working to collect and submit at least 50 valid signatures by Feb. 7 in order to appear on the May primary ballot, according to McCoy.
Yellow Springs Schools Board of Education approved a resolution Tuesday morning to seek a new tax levy and an income tax increase to pay for a new school building for students in grades 7-12.
The 4.7-mill levy will pay for a $12.7 million bond issue over 37 years, costing property owners about $164 annually per $100,000 in property value, according to Yellow Springs Schools Treasurer Dawn Bennett.
Voters in Yellow Springs will also see a request for a .25 percent income tax to pay for the rest of the capital project, generating an estimated $18.5 million, Bennett said.
Bellbrook City Council approved a resolution Monday to place a 1.75-mill levy on the May ballot.
The new tax request is a reduction of the 3-mill levy that voters narrowly rejected in November. City Manager Mark Schlagheck said council opted to just ask voters to fund one new firefighter position and not ask for approval of a new police officer position and other general improvements.
“We need to add staffing to the fire department to provide the best service we can for our residents,” Schlagheck said.
The new tax request would generate $313,000 a year for Bellbrook at an annual cost to property owners of $61 per $100,000 in property value.
In Beavercreek, council is considering a resolution to ask voters to approve a continuous police levy in November, according to City Manager Pete Landrum.
Commission candidates affiliated with a party who are interested in running for office must file petitions with the elections board by Feb. 7. Independent candidates must file petitions by May 7.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 2:47 PM
TAMPA, Fla. — Florida prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty for a 24-year-old man they say is responsible for randomly killing four people in a Tampa neighborhood will face the death penalty, according to news reports.
Howell Emanuel Donaldson III was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Benjamin Mitchell, 22; Monica Hoffa, 32; Anthony Naiboa, 20; and Ronald Felton, 60.
“The death penalty is for the worst of the worst, crimes that are far more egregious than the typical murder, and that’s what we have here,” Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said at a 10:30 a.m. news conference Tuesday, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The four victims were shot dead in October and November, sparking a manhunt in the Seminole Heights neighborhood.
Donaldson was arrested Nov. 28 after he handed a coworker at McDonald’s a bag with a pistol inside. The coworker then alerted police, who made the arrest.
The Tampa Police Department said that evidence later taken from the handgun connects it to all four murders, the Times reported.
During the news conference, Warren said that his office decided to pursue the death penalty due to several factors. He said that Donaldson killed four innocent people in a “cold, calculated and premeditated manner” and that there is no evidence showing he is mentally ill.