Cleveland Justice Center guards accused of attacking praying Muslim and mentally ill inmate

Cleveland Justice Center guards accused of attacking praying Muslim and mentally ill inmate

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - In one of two incidents at the Cuyahoga County Jail, a correction’s officer reportedly grabbed an inmate by the back of his neck as he was praying toward Mecca.

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“We’re gravely concerned about any incident like this, where a person’s religious rights and their right to be free from excessive force have been violated,” said Julia Shearson, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations/CAIR, Northern Ohio Chapter.

Video and witnesses say he reportedly demanded he stop and move to another cell, and that he grabbed the praying inmate by the back of his neck, dragged him about 30 feet and slammed his head to the floor before putting him in a cell.

Guidelines for Muslims while praying say they may not respond to a ringing phone or conversation.

“We would like the least restrictive policies to be placed on people’s religious freedom that would satisfy the security needs of the facility,” Shearson added.

That corrections officer at the facility is having what the county told me is a pre-disciplinary conference to determine exactly what happened and why.

There was a second incident involving another corrections officer and an inmate with Tourette syndrome. The officer reportedly used excessive force when grabbing the man, that he says was attacking a nurse. Turns out the nurse was helping the inmate who was shaking badly because of his Tourette’s.

Both cases are under review.

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