CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Erik Ivey is a 28-year jail employee with a previously unblemished record. At sentencing he admitted that as an inmate collapsed after taking opioids, he told corrections officers to stop recording.
Outside of court Ivey had nothing to discuss, but inside the courtroom prosecutors had plenty to say about his actions when inmate Joseph Arquillo collapsed. Investigators have videos from stationary cameras.
“The guard on duty had gone over to this inmate as he collapsed. You see that in the photos and basically kicked the man and walked away.” said prosecutor Matt Meyer.
He told the court the problem is there is no audio which body cameras would have captured. Prosecutors say making a case against anyone is far more difficult without the audio. That is precisely why Ivey is in trouble.
“Guards who were at the scene notified the state during the death investigation that Mr. Ivey had ordered them to turn off the body cameras.” said Meyer. You may wonder why Ivey would do that. Prosecutors say his own words explain it.
“We can’t film these because if we don’t do something right this is helping the civil lawsuits. We don’t want to film these.” Meyer read from a statement Ivey made to investigators.
There were powerful civil lawyers in the audience, as well as lawyers representing the county and executive Armond Budish.
“I accept full responsibility for my actions and I have the utmost remorse.” Ivey told Judge Nancy Fuerst. He is said to be fully cooperating with investigators, and is required to continue to do so as part of his sentence of probation. If he fails he will spend 6 months in jail. Judge Nancy Fuerst also ordered 200 hours of community service, and a $2,000 fine.
“I am disappointed in you. We expect more of our public servants, don’t we?” asked Judge Fuerst. Ivey answered “Yes, ma’am.”
There is another mysterious element to this case. Why did Ivey remain on paid leave during this investigation. Others have been forced to resign, or gotten unpaid leaves. He was paid right up till today when he submitted his resignation. A spokeswoman for Budish is checking into that question.