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Records: Ohio prison guards disciplined before inmate death

Disciplinary documents show three Ohio prison guards involved in the death of an inmate were previously reprimanded for similar instances in the past.
Credit: Ohio Dept. of Rehabilitation and Correction

ORIENT, Ohio — Records show three of the Ohio prison guards involved in the February death of inmate Michael McDaniel were previously disciplined for excessive use of force or not intervening when inmates were in danger or staff used unjustified force.

The disciplinary documents, obtained by The Associated Press, show a number of past incidents where Lt. Bruce Brown and officers Adam Causey and Jerry Perkins were reprimanded for actions similar to those made in connection with McDaniel’s in-custody death.

Last month, seven employees were terminated after officials say prison guards used excessive and unjustified force against McDaniel before he died in custody in February.

The Franklin County Coroner’s office had declared McDaniel’s death a homicide and ruled the cause as a “stress-induced sudden cardiac death.” 

Video released from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction showed an altercation begin when McDaniel was in his cell. The video had no audio, but investigators said he was yelling.

The footage shows 16 instances where McDaniel ends up on the ground as he is taken out of his cell, outdoors in the cold and into the medical unit. 

Previous disciplinary records show Perkins was suspended in November 2017 after using excessive force on an inmate, in addition to other instances where he was cited for failing to follow orders.

Causey was demoted from his position as a lieutenant in October 2020 for not taking any action when informed by an officer that an inmate was threatening to kill himself. The disciplinary record states Causey did not follow protocols with the department's suicide prevention policy.

An incident with Brown took place in October 2017 when he was a site supervisor in October 2017 and a use of force incident took place between a prison guard and an inmate.

The records state Brown did not properly communicate to staff and failed to recognize the inmate was “not coherent and could not understand the commands being given to him. 

In a statement, the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association says it could not comment on previous disciplinary actions or the investigation surrounding McDaniel’s death as it is ongoing.

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