Feds investigating civil rights issue inside Cleveland, Ohio jail

Posted at 3:50 PM, Nov 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-23 13:55:20-05

CLEVLAND, Ohio — The FBI is investigating civil rights issues inside the Cuyahoga County jail according to a damning report detailing serious problems inside the jail.

The details of the incident involving the use of force as a punishment, as well as the FBI's involvement were blacked-out in a version of the report released by Cuyahoga County on Wednesday.

However, a complete version obtained by WEWS television station investigators confirm "this particular UOF incident was turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cleveland...for further investigation."

According to the report, prepared by the US Marshals at the request of county leaders, the Facility Review Team confirmed use of force is used as punishment inside the jail.

The report also noted more than 100 interviews with inmates and detainees "reveal strong and consistent allegation of brutality, UOF punishment, and cruel treatment at the hands of the Security Response Team (SRT), whom the detainee/inmates refer to as "The Men in Black" based on their black para-military uniforms."

Inspectors also noted that body cam video revealed "aggressive conduct and behavior as well as abusive, explicit language used by SRT members direct at detainees/inmates."

US Marshal Pete Elliott confirmed that both the FBI and Cuyahoga County's Inspector General are conducting investigations into civil rights issues inside the jail.

Since late June, at least six inmates have died at the jail. Inspectors noted the jail failed to conduct reviews of the deaths and cited "insufficient and unclear answers" regarding the deaths.

The report also found there have been 55 suicide attempts at the jail in the last 12 months.

Cuyahoga County leaders have pledged improvements at the facility and say some changes have already been put in place.