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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.

Crews battle fire in Dayton home; 1 injury reported

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 9:06 AM

At least one person has been injured after a fire broke out in a Dayton home Saturday morning. 

TRENDING: 18-year-old killed in overnight shooting; SWAT surrounds suspect’s home

Firefighters were dispatched to the first block of South Westview Avenue around 8:50 a.m. on reports of house fire. 

RELATED: Roof collapses after fire breaks out in Dayton house

First units on scene said one person inside the home was injured and requested to a medic to the scene. The condition of the victim was not immediately known.

Firefighters also reported smoke showing from the structure when they arrived, according to initial reports. 

We’re monitoring this developing story and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Dayton SWAT activity connected to overnight shooting

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 7:47 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

UPDATE @ 8:30 a.m. 

Police confirm SWAT activity in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue is connected to an overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old was shot and killed. 

RELATED: Teen shot, killed in overnight shooting; SWAT surrounds suspect’s house

The story in the link above will be updated with the latest details on the shooting and SWAT activity. 

FIRST REPORT

We’re working to learn more about police activity reported at a home on Tampa Avenue in Dayton Saturday morning. 

TRENDING: Teen shot, killed overnight inside Dayton apartment

Multiple Dayton police officers currently have the house in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue surrounded and are demanding the occupants to exit, according to initial reports. 

Scanner traffic indicates SWAT has been requested to the scene, but dispatchers were not able to confirm those reports. 

Our crew is on the way and we’ll update this page when we learn more. 

Teen killed in overnight shooting identified; SWAT currently surrounds suspect’s home

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 8:45 AM

An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed inside an apartment on Caliph Court early Saturday morning, according to Dayton police.

UPDATE @ 8:45 a.m. 

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has identified the woman killed in an overnight shooting on Caliph Court as Dontiaunna Brown, 18, of Dayton. 

Brown’s cause of death has not been officially ruled and an autopsy is scheduled for later today. 

Dayton police and SWAT continue to surround a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect is believed to be barricaded inside. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 8:20 a.m. 

Police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue in Dayton where an overnight shooting suspect is believed to be barricaded inside, according to Dayton police. 

Officers have blocked off the area and are demanding the occupants to exit the house, according to our crew on the scene. 

Police confirmed to our crew the subject of the SWAT callout is connected to the overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old woman was killed. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 3:05 a.m. 

An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed inside an apartment on Caliph Court early Saturday morning, according to Dayton police. 

TRENDING: Passenger takes off in car, crashes as driver takes sobriety tests

The woman was found suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck around 1:25 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Dayton police Sgt. Theodore Trupp. 

CRIME: The Christmas Killings: Dayton’s worst crime spree

Trupp said it was too early in their investigation to determine what led to the shooting and police do not have any suspects.

>>Latest Local News

Additional details about the investigation were not available. 

The identity of the woman has not been released, pending notification of family. 

FIRST REPORT

Police and medics have responded to a report of a person shot on Caliph Court in Dayton early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the 5000 block of Caliph Court around 1:25 a.m. after the incident was reported. 

Officers are reportedly looking in the area for at least one suspect and have requested a K9 officer to the scene, according to initial reports. 

The condition of the victim was not immediately known. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Christmas spirit alive in Xenia: Officer helps family targeted by thief

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 6:21 PM



Kate Bartley
(Kate Bartley)

A thief took some clothes and towels from an unattended dryer inside a laundromat, threatening to ruin Christmas for one family. But Xenia Patrol Officer Rob Swihart made sure that wasn’t the end of the story.

STAY CONNECTED: Greene County News on Facebook

On Saturday Gena Storer left towels, washcloths, her baby girl’s clothes and other items in one of the three dryers at the Xenia Laundromat on Charles Street, she said.  

Storer said she planned to return later that day to retrieve the items after they had dried.

“We went to get our clothes and everything was stolen,” she said. “We were completely devastated.”

The thief took new pajamas, pants and other items that she had recently bought for her toddler-aged daughter, Storer said.

Xenia officer Rob Swihart and family

“It was stuff that we had just gotten her for Christmas that we went ahead and gave to her because she had outgrown all of her pajamas so fast,” she said.

Storer said they planned to return Christmas gifts that were already wrapped and under the Christmas tree to help pay for replacing the items.

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Xenia Patrol Officer Rob Swihart responded to Storer’s home to take the theft report.

Storer said Swihart took her daughter’s clothing sizes and other specifics of what was taken and left, promising to check with local charities to see if there might be help available. 

"He came back within less than two hours with Walmart bags of stuff that he had gone out and got with his own money and a $50 gift card on top of that,” Storer said. 

Swihart said it was a busy night, but he told his shift commander what happened and asked for permission to go to Walmart to help the family out.

Swihart, who is a new father of a 4-month-old, said he couldn’t bear the thought of the family going without during the holidays.

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“This isn't something that just goes on during the holidays,” he said. “I know that if I would have contacted any of the six other officers that were working with me that night and said, 'hey I need money for this,' they all would have ponied up money for it." 

Swihart added that it’s important for people to realize that "we're people too." 

"If we have the ability to help somebody out then that's what we want to do," he said. "In our line of work there's a lot of negativity. For us to be able to influence something in a positive manner that's important to us as individuals and us as a department.” 

Storer said she’s excited about Christmas this year. She can’t wait to see her daughter open the present that has Tickle me Elmo inside.  

“I'm still in shock,” she said. “It's like all the Christmas movies that you watch only it happened in real life for us."