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Prison Staff Could Face Discipline For February Death Of Inmate

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Karen Kasler
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10 prison workers have been named as involved in the February beating and death of a Columbus man who’d arrived at a Pickaway County facility just two weeks earlier to start his sentence for a stabbing. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on the results of a months-long investigation by the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction could result in disciplinary action and even criminal charges.

55-year old Michael McDaniel died of a sudden heart attack at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, but his death was ruled a homicide - his face and body had bruises and cuts after what was initially described as an altercation with staff.

DRC now says five corrections officers used unjustified and excessive force in removing McDaniel from his cell and then to the medical bay, and three others failed to perform their duties. One nurse is accused of failing to treat McDaniel and she and another are accused of submitting improper records.

Prisons director Annette Chambers-Smith was clear with reporters who watched a video of the incidents.

“We’re responsible for what happened in that video. There’s no question about it.”

The investigation found five corrections officers used unjustified and excessive force:  Officer Heath Causey, Officer Jerry Perkins, Officer Jason Roberts, Officer Joey Lemaster, Officer Paul Edwards

Three failed to perform their duties as corrections professionals:  Lt. Bruce Brown, Officer Kristy Judd, Officer Sarah Cline

Nurse Vera Pokuaa failed to complete an appropriate medical assessment and submitted improper records.

Jamie Dukes, LPN signed a document as a witness though she had no knowledge of the assessment

Perkins, Roberts, Causey, Cline, Judd, Lemaster Brown and Dukes violated standards of employee conduct and further disciplinary action is recommended. Pokuaa and Edwards have resigned. It’s also recommended that Pokuaa and Dukes be reported to the Ohio Board of Nursing.

The Pickaway County is also reviewing DRC's investigation.