Another corrections officer arrested

Mugshot of Corrections Officer Thomas Connor

Thomas Connor mugshot

A week ago Thursday, on Oct 17, 2017, Dayton Police arrested Montgomery County Jail Corrections Officer Thomas Conner, a 12 year veteran of the jail. Conner, 39, stands 6’2″ and weighs 220 lbs, and lives in Forest Ridge, was initially charged with domestic violence, but charges were dropped.

To demonstrate what C/O privilege is, he was booked at 0:43 and released at 12:20, which could be considered record time for a DV case where holds are usually at least 24 hours.

His wife works for the city. (updated Nov 26) Sources have told me that he wouldn’t let her out of the bedroom- and punched her in the face. His hand is hurt. Yet, the whole thing smells of a coverup.

We’ll probably never know the full story.

Early in his career, he was sent to an ethics class to retrain him on the appropriateness of calling black male inmates “boy.” He’s generally despised by inmates according to other corrections officers, often doing unnecessary searches and often hanging up inmate calls because he feels like it.

It’s obvious that Sheriff Phil Plummer has a problem in hiring people to run the jail. One lawsuit after another showcases incompetence at all levels. Domestic violence is a serious offense, and people who are supposedly trained to manage inmates in the most volatile environment should know better than to be charged for DV. If Connor was trained in deescalation tactics, this would have been a prime time to put that training to use- instead of using his fist.

 

 

Fixing the jail doesn’t begin with the jail

The news today was that Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, Sheriff Phil Plummer, County Commissioner Dan Foley and State Senator Peggy Lehner have a plan for an oversight committee to work on the Montgomery County Jail, where Plummer thinks it’s ok to pepper spray inmates while restrained. A ten person committee will solve all the problems. Not.

The first step to solving the problems at the jail is to work to keep people out of it, or to at least cycle them through as fast as possible when jail is not the answer.

To start off, we should look to Franklin County which has one county wide municipal court system. Judges are elected county wide, there is only one clerks office, and one website. Because they’ve avoided the duplication we have with courts in Oakwood, Kettering, Centerville, Vandalia, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Moraine etc. they can do somethings we don’t- like run the clerks office 7 days a week from 8 am to midnight. This way, people can work and get to the clerks office to pay their fines instead of having warrants issued.

Another option is to have night court. No reason to wait till the next day for a TRO, or bail to be set, with a night court- cases can be disposed of quicker. Same goes for having a weekend magistrate. Jail is for people who pose a risk to the community, not those who have other issues- like no way to get in to pay their fines.

Alcohol and drug problems aren’t best dealt with in a jail. Realistically, these are mental health issues, and even Sheriff Plummer tells us he’s not capable of handling psychiatric cases. It’s time to properly assess and build a county wide drug and alcohol treatment center. Yes, the doors will be locked, but, the people dealing with people coming off highs won’t be cops, they’ll be health care professionals. Ask Virgil McDaniel from Project Cure how to best manage addicts, don’t ask Sheriff Phil.

Last but not least, when it comes to bail and bond issues, we need a better system. If you are in jail and can’t make bail, there has to be a better reason than you’re broke. We keep people with very low bail in jail because they just don’t have the money, yet, we spend more in 3 days than what the bail would be. It’s sort of doing time for being broke and it’s not solving anybodies problems. Bail reform has been a major discussion in New York and California, where they’ve realized that by holding people for a week who live on the edge of poverty, it’s pretty much a bankruptcy in the making. Car gets repossessed, rent is late and they get evicted, lost their job, don’t pay their phone bill. Never mind they haven’t been found guilty yet- they’ve just been locked up. We need to find different ways to make sure people show up in court, and that incarceration before your day in court isn’t more expensive than the eventual fine or jail time.

We also need a much faster way to process prisoners out. How about a one hour guarantee or the bail starts going down? I paid $114 to get a friend out of the jail a month ago, and had to wait almost 4 hours for their release. That cost me time and money, and it costs the taxpayers. If you can’t get someone out of jail in an hour after the bond has been paid, there needs to be an incentive in place to get people out of jail as fast as we can put them in.

Make these changes first, and the committee may not have much to fix.

Phil Plummer’s fine folks

We know that Sheriff Phil Plummer hires racists, he “fired” two of them for sending racist texts (only they took full disability retirements after they were caught).

We know he hires and promotes miscreants who like to torture people with pepper spray, while restrained.

And, as the Washington Post just published the story of the latest pepper spray event, with video provided by yours truly, Phil Plummer has another problem child entering the spotlight.

Mugshot of Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputy Douglas Carl Gearhart

Mugshot of Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Carl Gearhart

Meet Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Douglas Carl Gearhart, who is currently residing in a much safer jail than the one Phil runs- booking number 20170583  at the Warren County Jail, arrested today on two counts of domestic violence. We’ll have to wait until Friday for his next court date, and currently there is no bail. Hopefully, his wife is OK.

Gearhart was rumored to be on the promotion list for sergeant, which would probably have put him in the Montgomery County Jail for a tour. Maybe, he’s just doing undecover research for Phil on how a competent jail is run?

Given his bad behavior, Plummer will probably fast track his promotion. Sadists are his favored type of officer.

We’re currently working on additional stories of issues in the Montgomery County Jail. Not just the lawsuits, but how and why the jail has become a lawsuit liability machine under Phil Plummer.

Lawsuit filed in 2nd pepper spray case

Attorney Doug Brannon, working for Charles Alexander Wade, the victim of the second pepper spraying while in restraints that has come to light in the last six months, filed suit in District Court asking for a jury trial.

The case centers around the pepper spray video that I released on February 2nd 2017 of the incident that occurred Oct. 19, 2016, just a month after Plummer called the first pepper spraying of Amber Swink in restraints an “isolated incident.”

The pepper spraying of people in restraints is unconstitutional, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, and is totally unnecessary and unwarranted. However, Sheriff Plummer seems to be oblivious that this kind of behavior is not only wrong, but dangerous.

He seems to think it’s better to blame the County Commission and anyone but his officers in his press conference that was held last Wednesday, February 8, the day after the County Commission asked for the Department of Justice to investigate the jail for civil rights violations.

Another key part of the Wade complaint is that the plaintiff and his attorney had asked for the video and records multiple times and were denied. The video I released was the first and only copy that had been released to the public.

I am including the entire time stamped final complaint: Wade, Charles – TS Complaint with Jury Demand

Here are some key points, most of which can be seen clearly in the video I released:

17. The Plaintiff’s fear of being placed in a restraint chair at the MCJ was based upon the MCJ’s well-earned reputation for having a pattern and practice of using excessive force against its pretrial detainees. This includes but is not limited to Amber Swink in 2015 when jail officers used OC spray on her while she was fully restrained in a restraint chair.
This also includes Louis Aldini, Jr., a military officer whom officers viciously beat and tazed, and placed in a restraint chair, while he was in their custody in 2006. Jail officers also used excessive force in causing the death of Robert Andrew Richardson Sr. in 2012, whom, when ill in his cell and suffering from a medical emergency, officers allegedly pinned to the ground prone on his stomach and applied significant weight to his back to the point where he ceased breathing. Excessive force was also used against Emily Evans, who was body slammed into a concrete floor while handcuffed knocking her unconscious and causing facial  fractures.

22. Once on the floor, Deputy Walters kept Plaintiff Wade pinned down by placing his right knee on the upper middle back area of Plaintiff Wade at which point Plaintiff Wade stated “I’m not resisting…..how do I not resist?”

24. Corrections Officers, including Defendant Lightner, secured Plaintiff’s two legs and abdomen into the restraint chair so that he was sitting in the seat and unable to stand, with both of his arms still handcuffed behind his back while Defendant Eversole recorded the events with a handheld camera.

25. At that point Plaintiff Wade’s upper torso and head were pushed down into his lap by Defendant Lightner and three other corrections  officers where it would have been impossible for the Plaintiff to move or pose any threat to the corrections officers.

26. At that point Defendant Lightner, under the semblance of removing the Plaintiffs handcuffs manipulated the Plaintiff’s hand and wrist causing severe pain, injury and evoking a reaction from the Plaintiff which he knew was unnecessary and would lead to further escalation with the Plaintiff in the restraint chair.

27. Defendant Eversole then passes the video camera to another corrections officer and takes a full can of OC spray places it directly in the face of Plaintiff Wade and hits him directly in the eye and face at a range of approximately one inch with a long burst of OC spray while the Plaintiff is still restrained in the restraint chair, pinned forward with his head in his lap by four corrections officer including Defendant Lightner.

28. Only after Defendant Eversole has already sprayed OC spray in Plaintiffs face does he give Plaintiff any verbal commands to “stop resisting.”

29. The Plaintiff, after being sprayed directly in the face and eyes with OC spray at point blank range, is now coughing, struggling to breathe and when his left hand is removed from the handcuffs he places his left hand over his mouth as part of a cough reflex. It should also be noted  that the corrections officer are also placing their hands/arms over their mouths in a similar cough reflex, even though they were not directly  sprayed in the face with OC spray.

30. As Plaintiff Wade is still strapped in the chair, pinned down by four corrections officer including Defendant Lightner, coughing and  struggling to breathe Defendant Eversole then administers a second generous dose of OC spray directly to Plaintiffs face and eyes for no reason other than to inflict further pain and injury to the Plaintiff.

31. The four corrections officer and Defendant Eversole then take Plaintiffs arms and strap them into the chair, after which Defendant Eversole takes his forearm and places it across Plaintiffs chest/neck further restricting his ability to breathe despite Plaintiff’s cries that he already could not breathe.

36. Both acts of OC spraying the Plaintiff while the Plaintiff was restrained and pinned down by corrections officers in the restraint chair  constituted brutal and excessive force, was cruel and unusual and was not a proportionate response to Plaintiff’s actions while in the Defendants’ custody. Defendants, jointly and severally, exhibited deliberate indifference concerning the amount of force they applied on the Plaintiff.

37. Keeping Plaintiff Wade fully restrained in a restraint chair from 0446 hours until 0724 hours constituted brutal and excessive force, was cruel and unusual and was not a proportionate response to Plaintiff’s actions while in the Defendants’ custody. Defendants, jointly and severally, exhibited deliberate indifference concerning the amount of force they applied on the Plaintiff.

38. A reasonably competent police officer and/or corrections officer would not consider the use of the amount of force, under these circumstances, reasonable.

41. Shortly after the assault of Plaintiff Wade as stated herein, several staff members working in the Montgomery County jail who either witnessed the assault and excessive use of force or had heard about the wrongful conduct of Defendant Eversole and Lightner reported said wrongful conduct to Defendant Landis, who was a supervisor over Defendants Eversole and Lightner, who also had the responsibility of  overseeing the operations in the MCJ.

42. Despite knowledge of the wrongful conduct of Defendants Eversole and Lightner Defendant Landis failed to order any type of an investigation into the events that are the subject of this action.

45. At all times relevant herein Defendants, under the direction and control of Defendant Plummer, failed to timely comply with the public records request for the video footage of the OC spraying of Plaintiff Wade in violation of the law and the policy of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

46. Defendants even relabeled videos in document productions to the Plaintiff’s attorneys purporting to claim that they were of Plaintiff Wade when they were not, in an effort to frustrate and prevent any claims being brought against the Defendants.

47. The wrongful conduct of Defendants not producing the video was intentional and deliberate since Plaintiff’s counsel has sued the Montgomery County Sheriff and its officers/employees in the past and has several cases pending against the Montgomery County Sheriff currently.

48. Upon receiving the public records requests and/or viewing the videotape, Defendants knew or should have known that excessive force was used against Plaintiff Wade, that Defendants Eversole and Lightner had in fact committed the crime of assault against Plaintiff Wade, that  Defendant Eversole and Lightner had violated the Use of Force policy of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office and that there was a high probability that there would be litigation regarding this incident in the form of a criminal prosecution of Defendants Eversole and Lightner and/or a civil action brought by Plaintiff Wade and/or internal disciplinary actions against Defendants.

99. Through the conduct alleged above, Defendants negligently, intentionally, maliciously, recklessly, and willfully breached this duty by  attacking Plaintiff with OC spray and/or destroying the videotape and other documentary evidence so as to inhibit probable litigation and as a direct and proximate result, Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages.

To sum it up. Torture is tolerated in the Montgomery County Jail run by Sheriff Phil Plummer. Incidents have been routinely covered up, and the ones that have been exposed are apparently condoned by the Sheriff. Even though he complains he’s short a captain who is on paid leave for her actions in pepper spraying Amber Swink, the captain had been promoted from sergeant to captain in the time between her pepper spray incident and the revelation almost a year later. In the second pepper spraying, no officers were disciplined, and again, there was a coverup of the incident and public records requests were denied. Sheriff Plummer refuses to admit that these are inappropriate uses of pepper spray- a substance that can and has caused deaths around the globe in more appropriate uses than these.

It takes 23,000 signatures to recall Sheriff Plummer. Or, one judge to rule that he and his deputies are breaking the law and can’t be entrusted with public safety in the jail. The question is, who is going to step up first.

NOTE: there will be a protest at the jail, Friday, February 24th at 6pm outside the jail on W. Second Street.

 

 

The silence of the leaders

Montgomery County Jail Dayton Ohio UNSAFEThursday night at 7pm I released a video clearly showing that the Montgomery County Jail is unsafe at any speed. The video I procured, was denied to exist once again, by the Sheriff’s office, when multiple public records requests were filed by the attorney representing the victim of the sadistic torture inflicted under the cover of authority.

The video has over 5,300 views on Facebook with over 135 shares. It has 600 views on YouTube. This is in under 36 hours.

Yet not a single elected leader has issued a statement, asked for an investigation, called for intervention.

So what are they saying (we know they’ve all seen it- they do read my blog, they do have friends that keep tabs on what I’m up to.)

Here’s the mythical conversation, somewhere in the halls of local government yesterday:

Elected official 1 “Man, I’m glad I’m not Phil Plummer today, did you see that video Esrati released. Pepper spraying another inmate while restrained. This is going to cost the county.”

Elected official 2 “Yeah, it’s pretty clear that place is out of control. Can you believe Esrati asked for money to fund his “work” at the end, I’d donate if it meant he’d STFU and leave town. What an ass.”

Elected official 1 “Thank god he doesn’t work at the paper, or we’d all be in trouble. Not that they have anyone left that knows anything.”

Elected official 2 “You know he called me an idiot last week in his blog, over that real estate give away, he just doesn’t understand who we have to answer to.”

Elected official 1 “That guy probably had it coming anyway, I heard his rap sheet was a mile long. But, you know, we can’t keep quietly settling all these abuse of power, use of force lawsuits. We’re close to $10 million already. And his deputies keep crashing cruisers like dodgem cars.”

Elected official 2 “No one pays attention to county government, they get wrapped up in things like sanctuary city status and the heroin problem. Besides, my seat is safe.”

What we should have heard.

The county commissioners should have been asking the FBI, the Justice Department and the State Attorney General to come in and mount a full investigation. Plummer, and the command staff of the jail, should all be placed on immediate unpaid leave, and they should be asking for help from the police chiefs through out Montgomery County to come together to put a plan in place to safely run the jail.

The City of Dayton, the largest customer of the Jail, should have said that they will no longer use the county jail as long as Plummer and his current command staff are in charge. Efforts should be made to either release their prisoners to community control, or moved to other facilities. A clear statement should be made that the jail isn’t a safe place and that it isn’t acceptable for our citizens. They should launch their own investigation.

All other jurisdictions that use the jail, should have made similar statements.

There should also be a request to have state oversight on the failures of the Jail, the Sheriff and the County to release requested information though the public records requests.

Anyone found to be impeding the release of footage, reports, documentation that was legally requested should be charged with a crime, fined, and fired.

Since the County Prosecutors office didn’t issue an immediate statement condemning any of this, the Prosecutor should be asked to resign. This is his job, not mine.

Crimes were clearly committed in the county jail, not just on Oct 17, 2016, but over the last few years. It is his job to make sure that the people in charge of enforcing laws, aren’t committing crimes. Since Prosecutor Mat Heck can’t seem to do that, it’s time for him to go as well.

And in the hallways of the local media:

“How did Esrati get this story? How did he get the footage?”

“We can’t use it, he put his url on it. We’d have to credit him with breaking the story. We don’t do that- we just steal his stuff for our front page news”

“Did you see that he had the audacity to ask for donations? He can’t get paid for doing what he’s been doing for free”

“He said we don’t cover stuff because we get advertising revenue from political campaigns, the hospitals, the big businesses that run this city, how else can we stay in business? This town is going to shit because those morons they elect don’t have a clue on what they’re doing. It’s not our fault the people elect stupid people.”

“Nobody was bleeding, or died, that’s not news.”

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