Pepper balls used after Ohio max-security inmates refuse to go into lockdown

The inmates damaged plumbing in the pod, but no one was injured in the disturbance


By Jane Morice
cleveland.com
        
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Nine inmates refused to re-enter their individual cells for lockdown Saturday morning and began damaging plumbing in a housing unit at the Cuyahoga County Jail, prompting corrections officers to disperse pepper balls to de-escalate the situation.

No inmates or guards were injured in the disturbance that happened about 9 a.m. Saturday, Cuyahoga County spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said in an email.

There are 17 inmates in the maximum security housing pod where the incident occurred, Madigan said. A majority of the nine individuals involved in the disturbance have been charged with aggravated murder, and they are “frustrated [with] waiting for more than a year for a trial date,” Madigan said.

The disturbance happened at the Cuyahoga County Jail in downtown Cleveland on Saturday morning.
The disturbance happened at the Cuyahoga County Jail in downtown Cleveland on Saturday morning. (Cory Shaffer/cleveland.com)

The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office’s detective bureau is investigating the situation, and it’s possible the inmates could face additional criminal charges, Madigan said.

This specific housing unit is not one that had been under the “yellow-zoning” policy implemented at the jail until last Thursday, Madigan said. The yellow zoning rule, argued as unsafe by the correction officers’ union, was implemented when the jail staff was so low that one officer had to supervise two clusters of cells, called pods, at the same time.

“The Sheriff is extremely proud of the men and women of the Sheriff’s Department and their continued ability to respond appropriately given the difficult working conditions and resource availability,” Madigan wrote.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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