Video of Ohio jail attack underscores safety concerns raised by staff
The attack highlighted security concerns inside the jail brought up by COs
Advance Ohio Media, Cleveland
CLEVELAND, Ohio — A man charged in the fatal stabbing of his wife attacked a Cuyahoga County Jail nurse from behind despite the jail being warned of his potential danger, according to surveillance video, police reports and court records.
The attack highlighted security concerns inside the jail brought up by corrections officers included in grievances filed by the officers dating back years.
Carlos Gonzalez-Manjarrez, 45, walked up from behind the 53-year-old nurse inside the jail and choked her, the video shows.
Gonzalez-Manjarrez was being held in the jail’s mental-health ward at the time of the Jan. 23 attack, according to police reports.
The nurse told police she was visiting inmates in the dayroom, a larger room outside a cluster of cells, at the time of the attack, according to Cleveland police reports.
She told police Gonzalez-Manjarrez was angry with her because she refused to prescribe him sleeping pills, police reports say.
The video shows Gonzalez-Manjarrez walk up slow at first, then rush up from behind the nurse. He placed her in a chokehold despite the fact that two Cuyahoga County corrections officers stood nearby.
The officers pulled Gonzalez-Manjarrez off the nurse and forced him to the ground. Other officers jumped in and held Gonzalez-Manjarrez on the ground until they could strap him into a restraint chair, the video shows.
Gonzalez-Manjarrez bled from the head after suffering an injury as officers took him to the ground, the video shows. The nurse was taken to MetroHealth, where she was treated and released.
Corrections officers has for years warned the county about dangerous conditions inside the jail for both officers and employees.
Cuyahoga County officials in their responses have said that hiring more corrections officers, along with decreasing the inmate population, are key to solving those concerns.
The county has hired more officers recently. In November, there were 565 officers, which has increased to 615 in February, following a U.S. Marshals report that showed the jail was understaffed. The report also detailed “inhumane” and dangerous conditions inside the jail for inmates and officers.
The county wants to hire 60 more officers for the jail, where eight inmates died in 2018 and 69 attempted suicide, triple the amount of attempted suicides since 2016.
Gonzalez-Manjarres is charged with aggravated murder in connection with the Jan. 16, 2018 slaying of his wife, Lori Gonzalez. He has pleaded not guilty in the case, and his attorneys have argued that he is incompetent to stand trial.
Gonzalez-Manjarrez called 911 dispatchers after the stabbing and said: “I just killed my wife.”
The stabbing happened at the couple’s home on East 222nd Street in Euclid. He told dispatchers the couple had been “going through a lot lately.”
Court officials warned the jail on Aug. 17, 2018 that Gonzaelz-Manjarrez could present a danger to himself.
Cuyahoga County Judge Michael E. Jackson in an order wrote that court officials contacted the sheriff’s office and the jail’s mental health unit to say that based on a psychiatrist’s report presented during the hearing that Gonzalez-Manjarrez “is a high-risk of suicide and that he needs to be placed in a hospital which can limit his access to potential weapons,” according to the order.
An unnamed representative of the jail told the judge that the psychiatrist’s findings were “inconsistent” with what jail officials observed, according to the order. The jail employee told the judge that in the previous 17 days, Gonzalez-Manjarrez had been placed in the “acute ward” of the mental health floor of the jail.
The jail representative also told the judge there had been no indication that support the psychiatrist’s finding he might be a danger to himself or others, the order says.
“Nevertheless, the court was assured that a procedure is in place to note this new finding and to observe the defendant accordingly,” according to Jackson’s order.
The judge noted the jail representative said he is taking medication, but that all jail staff would be made aware of the psychiatrist’s report and “conduct themselves in accordance with the procedure,” Jacksons’ order says.
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