Fired Lorain County Jail guard Marlon Taylor was charged with deprivation of rights under color of law in federal court Friday for the July 2012 beating of an 18-year-old inmate.
Taylor, 49, was charged by way of information, which typically indicates that a defendant has reached an agreement to plead guilty.
Jack Bradley, Taylor’s lawyer, said he couldn’t discuss the details of the plea agreement his client will ultimately sign.
“We’ve met with the U.S. Attorney’s office on several occasions and we were able to put together a plea agreement and it will be something that could potentially carry a federal prison sentence,” Bradley said.
The charge against Taylor accuses him of violating Jordan Sand’s right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, according to a news release announcing the charge. Taylor could get up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although the release noted that it’s rare for maximum sentences to be imposed under federal sentencing guidelines.
Taylor is accused of attacking inmate Jordan Sand, who was serving out a juvenile sentence, on July 29, 2012. The veteran corrections officer had been helping another jail worker distribute medication to inmates when Sand refused to take his antidepressants.
Taylor then ordered Sand to gather up his possessions because he was going to “the hole.”
After the men passed through a security door, a video of the incident shows Taylor slam Sand against the glass of a security control room. The two men then walked a short distance and briefly talked before Taylor attacked Sand.
The video shows Taylor force Sand against a wall and a bench as he rained blows on him. Sand fell to the ground and curled into the fetal position as Taylor continued to strike him.
Other guards arrived about 30 seconds after Sand was first hit by Taylor.
In a lawsuit filed last month, Sand contended that he was denied medical treatment and locked in solitary confinement for two weeks after the beating. He is presently on probation in an unrelated robbery case. The lawsuit accused Sheriff Phil Stammitti of failing to properly supervise and train Taylor.
Bradley said there were “red flags” about his client that should have told his supervisors Taylor was under significant stress and may have benefitted from being assigned to a different set of duties.
During the investigation, Taylor insisted that Sand had threatened him and was standing with a closed fist and he acted to protect himself. Sand told investigators that while he was talking back to Taylor, he never threatened him.
Taylor was initially charged with misdemeanor assault in Elyria Municipal Court, but that charge was dropped at the request of federal prosecutors so they could pursue the civil rights case.
U.S. Attorney for Northern Ohio Steven Dettelbach said in the news release that Taylor’s abused his position.
“The vast majority of law enforcement officials do a great job,” the statement said. “When someone abuses the power and privileges of their office, however, they can and will be held accountable.”
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.