September 20, 2014

Elyria
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Guard who hit inmate is fired

ELYRIA — Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti has fired a veteran corrections officer currently under investigation by federal authorities examining whether he violated a prisoner’s civil rights during a July 29 incident.

Stammitti terminated Marlon Taylor from the job he’s held at the Lorain County Jail since 1998 on Friday after determining he had violated numerous departmental policies, including giving false information during an investigation, unbecoming conduct, physically mistreating an inmate and not following regulations.

Taylor had been on administrative leave since he was charged with misdemeanor assault last month, but that charge was dropped by Elyria city prosecutors earlier this week at the request of U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach’s office.

Stammitti said he is cooperating with the federal investigation into Taylor but couldn’t say much about it because the case is still pending.

Taylor was working with another jail staffer to distribute medication to inmates on the morning of July 29, when he and inmate Jordan Sand, who was serving time on theft, breaking-and-entering and drug charges, got into a disagreement about Sand’s refusal to take his antidepressants.

Taylor told Sand he was taking him to “the hole” and ordered him to gather his possessions. Once the two men had gone through a security door, Taylor slammed Sand up against the glass of a security control room. Security footage of the incident showed the pair then walked a short distance away and began talking again.

According to a report on the incident, Taylor said Sand told him he was close to fighting him and was holding a closed fist at his side. Sand insisted that although he was talking back to Taylor, he never threatened or intimidated the guard.

Taylor lunged at Sand, forcing him back against a wall and a bench, where he began repeatedly striking him, the video showed. The blows continued after Sand fell to the ground and curled into the fetal position.

About 30 seconds after Taylor first struck Sand, other guards arrived on the scene. Sand told investigators he never fought back against Taylor.

Jack Bradley, Taylor’s attorney, has said his client followed proper procedure and was protecting himself and another jail employee from what he perceived as a danger.

Local prosecutors have said that if Taylor doesn’t end up being charged in federal court, they have two years to refile the misdemeanor assault charge.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.