[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.

The video showed Hodges and Zimmerman letting teenagers out of their cells and into a room, then standing guard as the two fought inside the room.

The practice was uncovered by an investigation into a Sept. 16, 2016 assault in the common area in one of the jail’s pods that occurred during the fight nights.

Hodges let the inmate out of the room about 7:30 p.m. The boy walked downstairs to a water fountain, where he punched Jackson in the face and slammed him to the ground, the video shows.

Jail supervisors began to review the video and discovered the fighting. They also collected letters from inmates saying that Hodges told them not to say anything about “fight nights.”

Zimmerman penned a letter blaming the actions on Hodges, and resigned shortly after the incident came to light. Hodges was fired in December, but the county agreed to allow him to change his termination to a resignation in February, instead of going through arbitration process.

The suit also names Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney. Mary Louise Madigan, a county spokeswoman, said guards at the juvenile detention center are not employees of the sheriff’s department.

The plaintiffs are being represented by attorneys David Malik and Thomas Perotti.

Source: http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2017/09/cuyahoga_county_juvenile_inmat.html

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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