The Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland recently made headlines for all the wrong reasons after its deplorable conditions led to several suspicious inmate deaths. Now, newly released video footage was shining a brighter light on the horrific brutality inside the jail that some have described as “torture.”
A surveillance camera from the jail recorded the disturbing events that took place last July 2018. As the video begins, two jail workers are seen in a room alone. One unidentified officer was getting a wheelchair ready while the supervisor, Idris-Farid Clark, shook his pepper spray like he was prepared to use it. Shortly after the two leave, they reemerged with inmate Chantelle Glass, who was wearing a white gown. Glass had reportedly been brought to the jail after a heated argument with her sister, but was never charged. Instead, she was held in the jail for failure to appear in traffic court.
Glass, who did not appear to be resisting, was strapped to the chair as several officers stood around her. As the unidentified officer from the beginning of the video began to strap in her left leg after strapping in her arms and upper body, Glass stretched her right leg. The officer, in turn, punches her in the face, prompting Glass began to kick. Then Clark, who had been holding the pepper spray the whole time, began spraying Glass from close range, even holding her head in place so he could continue to spray her. Clark sprayed Glass for six seconds at a distance of about six inches from her face.
Almost one minute passed before Glass, whose face and chest was covered in orange, was wheeled out of the room.
The disturbing video can be viewed below.
In a statement to Cleveland.com, Glass’ attorney, Subodh Chandra, called the video a “torture scene.”
“They wanted to hurt her,” Chandra said. “This appeared to be a ritual of torture, something the officers were accustomed to doing and had practiced many times.”
Though the officers and Glass both agreed that she became angry when she was not allowed to make a phone call, that is where the similarities end with their statements. According to Cleveland.com, the officers wrote in their reports that Glass threatened officers from the time she was booked until the time Clark approached her cell. They also said that after she was pepper sprayed, they wheeled her to a medical unit for treatment.
Glass, who said she suffers from asthma, told a different story.
She said officers threatened to pepper spray her if she did not stop demanding a phone call and banging her head against her cell. She also claimed that after they wheeled her out of the room, she was taken to a small cell where water was thrown on her and she was left alone for hours.
For months, the jail refused to release the video and Clark’s disciplinary records. Clark, who did not have his body camera turned on, said in the newly released documents that he was aware of a policy that stated that officers had to be at a minimum of three feet away from a person before pepper spraying them. Yet he claimed he sprayed her at six inches because she kept turning her head.
Clark was suspended for 15 days following the incident, but he has been on unpaid leave since his indictment in April when he was charged with second-degree felonious assault, interfering with civil rights and unlawful restraint. He pleaded not guilty.
Unfortunately, Glass’ treatment was not an isolated incident. Nine inmates have died at the Cuyahoga County Jail in the past year. In addition, officials were investigating claims that inmates have been exposed to horrible conditions. Clark is one of 10 officers from the jail facing charges from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office for various incidents, some of which caused injury or death to several inmates.