ELYRIA — A misdemeanor assault charge against Lorain County Jail Corrections Officer Marlon Taylor was dismissed Wednesday because federal authorities are considering filing felony civil rights charges against him.
Taylor, who is currently on administrative leave from his job, was charged last month in Elyria Municipal Court for the July 29 incident in which he repeatedly struck inmate Jordan Sand, who was serving time on theft, breaking-and-entering and drug charges.
Elyria Law Director Scott Serazin said he received a call from U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach’s office on Tuesday requesting the local charge against Taylor be dropped.
He said federal prosecutors worried that if Taylor were convicted on a state charge it could complicate bringing the federal case.
Jack Bradley, Taylor’s defense attorney, said that just because federal prosecutors are looking at the incident doesn’t mean Taylor will face federal charges. But he acknowledged that it is cause for some concern.
“It’s always worrisome, no matter who’s investigating you,” he said.
Scott Strait, the Elyria city prosecutor handling the case, said that Taylor can still face a local charge.
“If for some reason they decided not to do federal charges, we could always re-file in the next two years,” Strait said.
An internal investigation at the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office determined that Taylor was helping distribute medications to inmates on the morning of the incident and Sand refused to take his antidepressants.
Taylor ordered Sand to gather his belongings and go with him. After the pair went through a security door, Taylor slammed Sand up against the glass of a security control room. The two then walked a short distance away, a silent video tape of the incident showed, and began talking again.
The video showed Taylor lunge at Sand, who was standing with his back toward a bench and wall. The guard then began striking Sand with his fists and later his elbows as Sand curled into the fetal position on the floor. About 30 seconds after the first blow landed, other guards arrived and restrained Sand.
Taylor argued that Sand had threatened him and was standing with a closed fist and he was protecting himself. But the internal investigation concluded that Sand was telling the truth when he said he may have been talking back to Taylor, but he never threatened him.
Bradley said he believes Taylor acted appropriately.
“It’s our position that he was following policy in taking care of a situation he perceived as being a danger to him and another staff member,” Bradley said.
Mike Tobin, Dettelbach’s spokesman, declined to comment on Taylor’s case.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or email@example.com.