Civil Rights & Constitutional Law
Former jail nursing director Gary Brack sues County Executive Budish, MetroHealth CEO Boutros...
May 22, 2019
Friday, January 24, 2020
CLEVELAND, OH — Today, Cuyahoga County corrections officer Corporal Idris-Farid Clark pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a July 16, 2018 attack on Chantelle Glass, who was arrested on an outstanding traffic ticket. Clark was captured on video emptying a can of pepper spray into her face while she was confined to a restraint chair.
The indictment charged Clark with felonious assault, unlawful restraint, and interfering with Ms. Glass’s civil rights. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors agreed to reduce the charges to one count of attempted felonious assault and one count of unlawful restraint related to the attack on Ms. Glass.
Clark’s accomplice, corrections officer Robert Marsh, pleaded guilty in November to a single charge of assault for punching Ms. Glass in the face while she was confined to a restraint chair. He was indicted on charges of assault, interfering with civil rights, and unlawful restraint. He agreed to resign from his position as part of the plea.
Clark was also charged in a later indictment with extortion, intimidation, tampering with evidence, tampering with records, and unauthorized use of computer, cable, or telecommunications property. Those charges related to Clark’s efforts to blackmail other corrections officers into testifying about the violence and abuse at the county jail. According to evidence submitted by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in support of a warrant application, Clark threatened to release videos of other corrections officers abusing inmates unless they offered favorable testimony for him. In today’s plea, Clark also pleaded guilty to one count of extortion and agreed to resign his corrections-officer position.
Judge Dick Ambrose accepted Clark’s guilty plea on the three charges. Both Marsh and Clark will be sentenced next month.
Ms. Glass’s lead counsel, Ashlie Case Sletvold, said regarding Clark’s plea: “Today was an important first step in Mr. Clark finally accepting responsibility for the violence he inflicted on Ms. Glass. But the greater responsibility lies with Cuyahoga County, which allowed a culture of punitive violence to flourish at the county jail. Ms. Glass will continue her efforts to hold everyone responsible to account for their roles in the torture she endured. She’s disappointed that thus far County Executive Budish and Prosecutor O’Malley have ignored her repeated requests to various county representatives to resolve her civil claims over an incident captured on video.”
As Ms. Glass’s civil suit over the incident alleges, this kind of brutality was unsurprising to jail employees, further solidifying the conclusion that torture was commonplace in the jail. As the video shows and public records confirm, a number of jail employees stood by while Marsh and Clark attacked Ms. Glass, making no effort to intervene to protect her. This non-reaction betrays the sad reality that this kind of violence was unremarkable. As the video of the incident shows, other employees laughed at Ms. Glass as she cried out in agony, unable to breathe due to the effects of the pepper spray on her asthma.
The civil case, captioned Glass v. Clark, et al., Case No. CV 19 917942, was filed in the Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas in July 2020, and is assigned to Judge Timothy McCormick. The complaint is here.
Video of a press conference with Ms. Glass at the time her civil complaint was filed is available here.
Ms. Glass appreciates the efforts of the prosecutors and investigators with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in pursuing the case and securing the perpetrators’ convictions. As is her right under the new Marsy’s Law amendment to the Ohio Constitution, she intends to submit victim-impact statements at the sentencings to express her firm conviction that both Clark and Marsh should serve prison time.
Sletvold, Subodh Chandra, and Brian Bardwell of The Chandra Law Firm LLC represent Ms. Glass.
Chandra Law has filed other federal and state lawsuits against the County and its corrections officers in the last year over a pattern of abuse, torture, deliberate indifference to medical needs, and other misconduct in the jail. The others include:
The firm filed yet another lawsuit against the County, Ken Mills, Armond Budish, MetroHealth, Akram Boutros, and Jane Platten alleging retaliation against Nurse Gary Brack, who blew the whistle on jail conditions to County Council and was swiftly removed from his position as nursing director.
The firm has also had to file other public-records mandamus actions for jail victims against the County over its consistent, willful failure to provide the people's documents and videos of jail torture.