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Retired county jail sergeant claims cover-up of pepper-spray incident

Published: Thursday, December 07, 2017 @ 8:55 PM

Former jail sergeant alleges cover-up in interview

Amber Swink was in a seven-point restraint chair in a holding cell here at the jail when she was pepper-sprayed. But no one in the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office was ever able to produce any video of the incident.

However, in an exclusive interview with our partners at the Dayton Daily News, retired Sheriff's Sgt. Eric Banks says he made a copy from the jail's surveillance system after he claims he received an e-mail that made him believe it was all about to be swept under the rug.

"It's very clear the intention was for the incident to remain hidden from the media, from the public," he said.

Banks just received a medical retirement a few weeks ago.

But he says he made his concerns known to supervisors while he was still on the job, just after this 2015 pepper-spray incident, asking them about potential discipline or an internal investigation.

"There was no effort whatsoever in preserving a copy so they could look into the incident," Banks said.

Banks claims that after he received an email claiming all video of 2015 incidents had been lost from the system, he made a copy of the pepper-spraying.

It ended up in the hands of Amber Swink's lawyer - she's the woman restrained in the chair.

She'd been brought to the jail, accused of assault on a police officer at a party, for which she later received five years’ probation.

Jail records indicate she was yelling repeatedly, possibly cussing and placed in the restraint chair.

When she continued yelling, then Sheriff's Sgt. Judith Sealey, who was later promoted to major, went in and pepper-sprayed her, according to those records.

Banks claims he went to his superiors, even to the FBI.

"I want people to know I tried to do the right thing," he said.

Sealey has pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor assault charge.

WHIO-TV reached out to the sheriff's office about Banks's claims.

News Center 7's Mike Campbell said the personnel director at the sheriff's office sent him an email that reads, in part, "As we do have an ongoing investigation that is not complete, the sheriff's office cannot presently answer your questions."

He said the sheriff's office also told him in the email that they can't address the settlement with Amber Swink because of a confidentiality agreement that limits them to statements that the lawsuit was settled amicably.

Court documents indicate Swink received $375,000.

Campbell said News Center 7 reached out to her attorney as well Thursday, but he also said he could not comment on the case.

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Inmate dies in Butler County Jail after being found unresponsive

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 5:18 PM


A prisoner who was found unresponsive this morning in a Butler County jail has died.

At about 8 a.m., a corrections officer at Resolutions Jail on Second Street found Billy Hall, 31, unresponsive, according to Sheriff Richard Jones. Hall was transported by Hamilton emergency crews to Fort Hamilton Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

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Hall was being held on charges out of Hamilton County. He had been in the jail for about two weeks.

Butler County sheriff’s detectives and the county coroner’s office are investigating. The cause of death has not yet been determined.

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Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 @ 2:52 AM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 8:39 AM

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

Major Highway Incidents

  • On I-75 south at Dryden Road in Moraine, a crash was reported around 4:45 p.m. causing a backup.

Surface Street Incidents:

  • None to report

>> RELATED: WHIO App-Winter

>> RELATED: Track the latest conditions in your neighborhood on our live WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 


  • Arlington Road between Pleasant Plain and Upper Lewisburg Salem Road, BRIDGE CLOSURE, March 5 - Sept. 30. All ramps for I-70 will remain open. 
  • Keowee Street north of Stanley Avenue, bridge closed until 2019. The official detour is: Keowee Street to Stanley Avenue to I-75 to Wagner Ford Road and back to Dixie. More information is available here.
  • Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East, RAMP CLOSURE March 28 - Sept 30, 2018. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H. McGee Blvd. to US 35 east.
  • SR 48 between First Street and Riverdale Street, Lane closures March 19 - April 1. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west, RAMP CLOSURE, March 12 - Sept. 30. The official detour is: I-75 north to US 35 east to Jefferson/Main Street to Ludlow Street to US 35 west. 
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west and east, Lane width restriction until Apr. 1, 2018. One lane will remain open on the ramp with a width of 11 feet.


  • N. Market Street between Foss Way/Kirk Lane and Stonyridge Avenue, ROAD CLOSURE March 5 at 7 a.m. - Aug. 10 at 5 p.m. 


  • SR 47 between Fifth Avenue and Wilkinson Avenue, Lane closures Jan. 21 - Nov. 27. One lane will remain open in each direction at all times. 


  • SR 121 between Washington Street and Fairview Street, ROAD CLOSURE Mar. 12 - April 13. The official detour is: SR 722 to US 127 to SR 503. 
  • SR 121 between Arnold Street and Harter Road, ROAD CLOSURE Mar. 12 - April 13. The official detour is: SR 722 to US 127 to SR 503. 


  • I-70 east Ramp to I-675 north, RAMP CLOSURE March 15 - Aug. 15. The official detour is: I-70 east to I-675 south to SR 444 to I-675 north


  • US 68 between SR 508 and Township Road 310, ROAD CLOSURE April 23 - 27. The official detour is: US 68 to SR 296 to SR 29 to SR 235 to SR 47 to US 68. 

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Judge says Dayton schools task force public, but denies injunction

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 2:41 PM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 4:40 PM

            Members of a combined city-Dayton Public Schools task force studying school facilities tour Valerie Elementary School on Feb. 6. The tours ended before scheduled because of a legal challenge. SEAN CUDAHY/Staff
Members of a combined city-Dayton Public Schools task force studying school facilities tour Valerie Elementary School on Feb. 6. The tours ended before scheduled because of a legal challenge. SEAN CUDAHY/Staff

A Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge denied a preliminary injunction sought by a Dayton resident who alleged an Ohio Open Meetings (OMA) Act violation because he was denied in his efforts to join a bus tour of Dayton Public Schools facilities.

Judge Richard Skelton ruled Monday in a 7-page decision that Dayton resident David Esrati did not meet the burden of proof about the bus tour containing substantive recommendations or discussion regarding potential closures of school buildings.

Esrati said he plans to continue the suit.

Skelton did write that the 20-member School Facilities Task Force formed to help Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli was a public body — disagreeing with DPS and Dayton city attorneys.

RELATED: Judge to rule today on legal challenge to Dayton schools task force

“The court rejects the argument of DPS that the Task Force was only an advisory group for the superintendent and was not a ‘public body’ itself,” Skelton wrote, later adding: “Pretending that the Task Force, including three members of the Board, was only for the Board’s employee would allow a simple subterfuge to avoid the OMA.”

A Dayton Board of Education meeting that includes a potential vote on a school closing proposal is scheduled for Tuesday. An injunction could have stopped or delayed that vote.

“The burden is on the plaintiff to prove that such deliberative discussion occurred during the bus tour and was used by the Board (of Education) in proposing its formal action,” Skelton wrote. “The plaintiff did not produce the first witness who offered any proof that a deliberative or any other discussion was had on the bus tour at issue.”

Skelton wrote that the court “has no basis to find that plaintiff has shown he is likely to succeed on his claimed violation of the OMA at the trial on the merits.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

Esrati said Skelton’s decision “makes no sense” and that he received legal advice that he should — and plans to — take the case to trial, currently scheduled for July 11.

“He said clearly they were a public body, and how I’m supposed to prove what they discussed or didn’t discuss is irrelevant because they’re not allowed to meet in private unless it’s for matters of executive session,” Esrati said, later adding: “There’s no way of me proving it because I wasn’t in the bus or in the school or anything else. And that’s a violation.”

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Esrati filed the lawsuit without an attorney. He contends he was not allowed to attend a February bus tour of Dayton schools during which task force members went into schools until district attorneys advised them to cancel remaining stops.

On Thursday, Esrati questioned Lolli and also was cross-examined by DPS attorney Brian Wildermuth during the nearly 2½-hour, wide-ranging hearing.

Wildermuth did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Wildermuth, who has said the task force wasn’t a public body and isn’t subject to the open meetings laws, argued in a post-hearing brief that the group was not a decision-maker and didn’t reach any consensus or specific recommendations.


“Plaintiff had the burden of proof,” Wildermuth wrote. “He did not carry that burden.”

Esrati said the board’s actions are a big part of the district’s problem.

“This school board is not to be trusted by anyone at any time for anything, if this is the way they want to conduct business,” Esrati said.

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Area company to add 200 jobs, invest $73M in manufacturing expansion

Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 9:48 AM

Topre America has announced plans to invest $73 million and add 204 new jobs in Springfield.

Topre America Corp. will expand again in Springfield, pledging to create more than 200 jobs and invest $73 million.

The third expansion at the manufacturer announced this morning comes before the Japanese auto parts firm has even completed construction on its latest project. Topre announced plans last year to invest $55 million and create 86 jobs in a 177,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. 

>>TRENDING STORY: Powerboat race to expand in Springfield after big crowds, impact

The latest expansion will add a 138,000-square-foot stamping facility to that site.

That brings the company’s total investment to about $130 million, with a projected total workforce just shy of 300 employees. 

>>RELATED: Silfex picks Springfield for 400 new jobs due to labor market

Springfield’s workforce was one reason Springfield was chosen for the latest expansion over sites in Indiana, Alabama and Tennessee.


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