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Montgomery County Jail pepper-spray trial scheduled for March 22

Published: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 9:56 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 2:33 PM
By: Mark Gokavi - Staff Writer

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office captain charged with misdemeanor assault for pepper-spraying an inmate in a restraint chair had her trial scheduled for March 22.

Capt. Judith Sealey did not appear in court Wednesday afternoon, but defense attorney Anthony VanNoy and Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office assistant Natalia Harris met with Dayton Municipal Court Judge Christopher Roberts before the pretrial hearing.

Sealey was a sergeant in November 2015 when video shows she sprayed inmate Amber Swink while Swink was in a seven-point harness.

RELATED: Former jail sergeant alleges cover-up of pepper-spray incident

The case is being handled by the Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office because Dayton City Prosecutor Stephanie Cook — a member of a Montgomery County Jail oversight committee — said it would be seen as a potential conflict of interest for her office to try the case.

Sealey, who has filed for possible medical disability retirement, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

RELATED: Jail captain in pepper-spray case pleads not guilty

VanNoy has said Sealey did not commit a crime. An internal review of the incident has not been made public and may be ongoing, according to sheriff’s office employees.

“We believe that Judy followed the training that was available to her at the time,” VanNoy said in August. “Although the video seems to depict a particular thing, we believe that Judy did not break the law in the context of a criminal matter.”

RELATED: Captain in pepper-spray case ‘did not break the law’

A grand jury earlier this year declined to indict Sealey on felony charges and findings of a federal probe into this incident and other jail issues have not been announced.

The pepper-spraying incident drew national and international coverage as a potential example of police brutality. A civil lawsuit brought by Swink was settled for $375,000.

SPECIAL PROJECT: Justice in the Jailhouse: Lawsuits, accusations plague region’s county jails

In an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News earlier this month, retired Sgt. Eric Banks said he and another sergeant brought the video to a local attorney and to the FBI because they feared a cover-up.

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“The sheriff’s office is mad that a couple people crossed that coveted blue line and told the truth about what happened,” Banks told this news organization.

VanNoy said Sealey never asked anyone to destroy any evidence.