Ohio civil rights agency launches new investigation into abuse allegations at Portage County Jail

Civil Rights Commission to enter case.

Ohio civil rights agency launches new investigation into abuse allegations at Portage County Jail
Fourth former inmate claiming assault at Portage County Jail (Source: Provided to WOIO)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The many complaints about inmate treatment at the Portage County Jail are finally gaining momentum.

Now, a new agency is getting involved in the investigation.

Ohio civil rights agency launches new investigation into abuse allegations at Portage County Jail

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission will see if the civil rights of Larry Tawney Jr. were violated.

Tawney says he was beaten and then denied medical attention, other than stitches done, at the jail. He has approved the release of his medical records, making this the first time his injuries are part of the record.

He is the brother of Amanda Griffiths, who has been pushing for an investigation.

“I just want my brother to be heard and not just under the rug like this place tries to do and hide stuff. One step at a time,” she told 19 News.

The letter she got from the commission is indeed that first step.

Next, Sheriff David Doak has the ability to respond.

It is a lot like what happens before a trial in discovery. If there is probable cause, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office will investigate.

It is something Griffiths has asked repeatedly of Sheriff Doak and Portage County Prosecutor Vic Vigluicci without success.

“Vigluicci? No, he doesn’t respond back with any phone calls. Anything,” was Griffiths reaction.

That is the same response 19 News got to both phone calls and a visit to the prosecutor’s office.

Griffiths wants the Ohio attorney general to investigate, but by law, the attorney general can only get involved if requested by law enforcement. That means it has to come from either the sheriff or prosecutor.

People in this case have already been very, very patient, and active as well. It’s going to take a little more patience.

The Ohio Civil Rights Commission has one year to file an action.

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