$2.8 million lawsuit claims prisoner abuse at Portage County Jail

County remains silent on investigation.

$2.8 million lawsuit claims prisoner abuse at Portage County Jail

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A lawsuit demanding a payment fund to be set up for inmates who claim abuse in the Portage County Jail has been filed.

“I’m not going to give up. I’m not going away like I said from day one,” is how Amanda Griffiths began.

She and Austin Frederick have become the “David” in a “David vs. Goliath” battle with Portage County.

Her brother, Larry Tawney, got severe injuries while in the Portage County Jail.

Frederick was himself an inmate there years ago, including a stint in the notorious court hallway. He says it was freezing with no plumbing, no bed, and no mattresses.

He, like others who have complained, was allegedly placed there naked.

The camera footage the pair got from inside the jail appears altered. They have made repeated requests for information but have gotten little. They want a copy of footage originally provided to the County Commissioners that they were told was unedited.

It was taken back by sheriff’s deputies before it was viewed.

We went to the commissioner’s offices to ask about it and about state jail inspection reports. We were told the material was held at the jail.

So, with an open records request, in hand we asked for it.

No reply yet.

Sheriff David Doak has asked the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association to investigate the allegations, but inmates fear it won’t be completely impartial and say they won’t cooperate.

They want BCI to do the probe.

We checked with the Ohio attorney general, who oversees the BCI, and learned that they can only investigate a case if it is referred to them by a law enforcement entity.

Sheriff Doak hasn’t done it. That puts the onus squarely in the lap of Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigliucci.

“They’re not condoning it. They’re promoting it because the officers that did this to me in 2012 now all have a higher ranking in the jail,” claims Frederick.

No court dates have been set at this time.

Copyright 2019 WOIO. All rights reserved.