WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Two corrections officers at the Trumbull County Jail were fired and several employees were disciplined after an investigation into force against an inmate.
Matthew Abbott and Christopher Zadroski were fired on September 20.
Solomon Cindea, who was incarcerated at the jail, reported that he had been assaulted at the jail on August 24. The incident happened while officers were transporting Cindea from booking area back to his cell, according to jail documents obtained by WKBN.
Officers transporting Cindea said he was being restrained because he was making threats to harm them, as well as himself.
In his notice of discipline, Sheriff Paul Monroe accused Abbott of dragging Cindea along the floor by shackles that were around his ankle. Cindea struck his head against the elevator as he was being dragged out, according to Monroe.
Abbott said he was carrying Cindea like this because Cindea tried to kick him during transport, but Monroe wrote that the video footage didn’t support this claim.
Monroe accused Zadroski of punching Cindea while he was handcuffed and shackled, being held face down on the floor by four officers. Monroe wrote that Zadroski didn’t admit to doing so in his first interview and omitted it from his report on the incident.
Monroe found Abbott and Zadroski in violation of the department’s use-of-force policy and found they were dishonest during the investigation.
“We did what we feel we have to do and what the public expects us to do,” said Chief Deputy Joe Dragovich. “We will not tolerate somebody dragging an inmate. We will not tolerate somebody striking an inmate that was shackled behind their back and at their ankles and being held down.”
Trumbull County Jail Administrator Major Dan Mason said during their investigation, they did find that Cindea had exaggerated some of his claims against officers.
Six other officers — Sgt. Ariana McBride, Sgt. Anita Babcock, C.O. William Dreier, C.O. Jordan Clay, Dep. Anthony Diehl, and C.O. Joseph Lynn — were also disciplined as a result of the internal investigation. They were suspended for anywhere from two to 10 days.
“We disciplined the folks in between to let them know that if you see that behavior your expectation is to intervene and stop it,” Dragovich said.
The whole ordeal was recorded on a surveillance camera. WKBN 27 First News has submitted a public records request for the recording.
At the time of this incident, Cindea was being re-booked into the jail, a place he’s been locked up quite often. Officials say he had spent a few days in the hospital after throwing himself down the stairs, and when he came back, investigators say he was making threats of harming both himself and attending officers.
After excessive force incident, Cindea was sent to Heartland Behavioral Healthcare Hospital for observation, and released on bond but he has since been arrested again and is currently being held without bond.
Dragovich said Cindea’s version of what happened with the corrections officers is not entirely accurate at all.
“There is a small piece of truth to it, but there is a lot of fabrication,” Dragovich said.
The Trumbull County Prosecutor’s office will also be looking into the incident.
Abbott and Zadroski are appealing their terminations.