[WATCH] Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center Guards Forced Inmates to Fight Each Other

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Four former inmates in the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center filed a lawsuit claiming jail guards forced them into “bloody and brutal brawls” last summer as part of a long-standing tradition called “fight night.”

The inmates, three of whom are now adults, say the guards organized the fights that pitted the teenagers against each other all for the guards’ amusement and entertainment. The lawsuit also says the guards conspired to cover up their behavior.

Dashone Dunlap, Saye’Quee Hale, Marcus Jackson and a teenager filed suit in U.S. District Court in Cleveland this week. The suit names Cuyahoga County, the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center, guards Freddie Hodges, Joshua Zimmerman and nine more unnamed guards.

The lawsuit claims the guards violated the teenagers’ constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment and inflicted serious physical and emotional harm and distress. It also says that the officers committed civil conspiracy laws.

They want to present their case to a jury.

Hodges and Zimmermann told the teenagers that “fight night” was a long-held tradition in the jail and bragged about the “good old days” when nurses in the jail would give teens injured in the fights covert medical care to help cover up the fights, the lawsuit claims.

The guards told the boys not to hit each other in face, and to shower after the fights to wash away any blood, the suit claims.

Detention officers forced teens who did not want to fight to fight the “biggest and toughest juvenile,” according to the lawsuit.

The teenagers who brought the lawsuit said they were forced to participate in the fights each Friday between July and September of 2016, the last of which was caught on surveillance video.

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