DAYTON, Ohio — A federal lawsuit alleges that officers at an Ohio jail beat a homeless veteran so severely that he ended up in a coma for two months and is now wheelchair-bound and cognitively disabled.
Joseph Guglielmo, 59, filed the civil rights suit against Montgomery County’s commissioners, its sheriff and six employees of the sheriff’s office, the Dayton Daily News reported.
Sheriff Phil Plummer declined to comment on the allegations in the lawsuit.
Guglielmo, who served in the Air Force as an operating room technician and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, was living at a Dayton homeless shelter when he was arrested in January 2015 after a disagreement with shelter employees, according to the lawsuit.
Guglielmo was booked into Montgomery County Jail and banged on his cell when a sheriff’s office employee was trying to call roll. Guglielmo claims that four corrections officers beat him in his cell and that two others who were outside did nothing to stop an employee from throwing Guglielmo against a concrete wall.
The complaint alleges that some officers stood in the way of a surveillance camera so that the beating wouldn’t be captured on video.
Two of the defendants later found Guglielmo unresponsive and he was taken to the hospital, the suit said.
“When people get booked into the Montgomery County Jail, the jailer is just supposed to keep them safe, no matter how much they’re yelling, or how disoriented they may be because of mental illness, the officers should not react with violence,” said Jennifer Branch, one of Guglielmo’s attorneys. “Instead, they should be providing the medical care.”
Documents allege Guglielmo is now unable to take care of himself and currently lives at a nursing and rehabilitation facility.
Records show he pleaded guilty to aggravated menacing. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, with credit for two days served and the remainder of that sentence suspended.
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