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Man sues Cuyahoga County and corrections officer over attack in jail medical unit

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Complaint alleges that officer attacked inmate with neurological condition, bragged about “choking people out." Inmate's condition then deteriorated.

CLEVELAND, OH — Yesterday, Glenn Mayer, Jr. filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Conmon Pleas a civil-rights complaint against Cuyahoga County and corrections officer Darriell Hayes.

The suit alleges claims for excessive force, assault, battery, failure to train and supervise employees, and related state-law claims, as well as destruction of public records.

The complaint alleges that on October 16, 2018, Mayer, who suffers from a neurological condition that causes muscle spasms, was receiving medication from a jail nurse when corrections officer Darriell Hayes attacked him from behind, roughly grabbing Mayer’s neck and squeezing it hard. The complaint alleges that this unjustified use of force caused increased tremors and that Hayes then slammed his elbow into Mayer’s back and continued pulling back on his neck.

The complaint alleges that the nurse administering the medication eventually intervened, telling Hayes to stop and explaining Mayer’s condition. According to the complaint, Hayes did not stop immediately, but when he did, he said, “I’m not used to this,” “I’m used to choking people out,” and “I’m used to laying people out.”

The complaint describes how Mayer’s condition deteriorated over several days following the attack, and that eventually he was confined to a wheelchair. He has since progressed to using a walker, but continues to experience weakness and immobility due to the attack.

The complaint details how Hayes failed to document his use of force against Mayer (as required by the County’s written policy) and even claimed— when questioned about the incident two days after it occurred—that he did not remember Mayer. The County has not disciplined Hayes for his treatment of Mayer.

But the County has repeatedly noted Hayes’s significant performance deficiencies in his personnel records. According to performance reviews provided in response to a public-records request, Hayes’s supervising officers identified the following deficiencies in his performance:

  • “Officer Hayes needs to understand that he could not beat everyone in his housing unit,” “[a]t times can have a threatening tone with inmates,”
  • “needs work on communicating with inmates,”
  • ”has not been professional when communicating with inmate using N word far to[o] much,”

In their reviews, supervising officers also criticized Hayes’s social-media posts.

The complaint details various Facebook posts by Hayes displaying contempt for incarcerated people, calling them “monsters” and saying he “hate[s] inmates.” His Facebook profile includes a number of questionable posts including a meme with the message “I WILL NOW REFER TO PEPPER SPRAY AS PEOPLE SEASONING IN MY REPORTS.”

The complaint also alleges that the County destroyed surveillance video of the attack, in violation of Ohio’s Public Records Act.

Mr. Mayer’s lead counsel Subodh Chandra said, “Mr. Mayer’s life has been permanently transformed by the crucible of misery that is the Cuyahoga County jail. There is no justification for unprovoked violence against anyone, let alone someone with a serious neurological condition. Cuyahoga County has fostered a culture of abuse and Mr. Mayer is determined to hold those responsible for his injuries accountable.”

The case is captioned Mayer v. Cuyahoga County, et al., Case No. CV 19 923255, and is assigned to Common Pleas Court Judge Ashley Kilbane. Mr. Mayer's complaint is available here.

Subodh Chandra and Brian Bardwell of The Chandra Law Firm LLC represent Mr. Mayer.

This is the fourth lawsuit in 2019 filed by Chandra Law against Cuyahoga County and its corrections officers over abuse, torture, and other misconduct in the jail. The others include

Related Practice Areas
Government Ethics, Misconduct, Fraud, & AbuseOhio Public Records Act, Open Meetings Act, FOIA, & Sunshine LawsPolice Misconduct & Brutality

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