Charles Wade Case
The Brannon Law Firm and Dayton personal injury attorney Douglas Brannon have filed a complaint in Federal Court against the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office, Sheriff Phil Plummer, Sergeant John Eversole, and others for use of excessive force against Charles Wade while he was in a restraint chair in the jail on October 17, 2016. The assault was captured on videotape from both the jail’s surveillance footage and footage from a handheld camera.
Despite the fact that Mr. Wade’s hands were cuffed behind his back, the fact that no less than four corrections officers surrounded him (with others standing by), and the fact that Mr. Wade was not resisting the officers, the decision was made to place Mr. Wade in the restraint chair. During the process, the corrections officers forced Mr. Wade into painful positioning and caused severe pain and injury to Mr. Wade. When Mr. Wade protested, he was pepper sprayed in the face and eyes by Sergeant Eversole, the spray being unleased approximately an inch away from Mr. Wade’s. Then, without giving any further instructions or commands, Sergeant Eversole pepper sprayed Mr. Wade in the face a second time. After the second spray, Mr. Wade complained of being unable to breathe, and repeatedly asked for help. Sergeant Eversole followed up his brutal assault by threatening another inmate with the pepper spray, informing the inmate that if they kept it up, they would be next.
The assault on Mr. Wade and the behavior of Sergeant Eversole and the corrections officers at the Montgomery County Jail is particularly concerning for two reasons.
First, the use of excessive force and pepper spray was completely unnecessary. Mr. Wade was in the process of being strapped into the restraint chair. At the time of the assault, Mr. Wade’s legs and abdomen had already been secured and he was thus unable to stand. Mr. Wade’s hands were also handcuffed behind his back. Mr. Wade was being forcibly held down, his upper body and head pressed into his lap. And Mr. Wade was surrounded by four corrections officers, with others standing by. Mr. Wade was not a threat to the officers. However, Sergeant Eversole chose to escalate the situation by pepper spraying Mr. Wade twice in the face. Both times without warning and both times without any instructions to Mr. Wade on how to avoid being pepper sprayed.
Second, this instance demonstrates another incident of violence and excessive force perpetrated by the corrections officers of the Montgomery County Jail. It has become a pattern for the corrections officers at the jail to act in a manner which disregards the rights and wellbeing of the jail’s inmates. The corrections officers at the jail have consistently escalated situations unnecessarily, employed the use of force and pepper spray when not appropriate, and acted without consideration of their duties as officers of the law. Further, there have been no consequences of repercussions for any of the officers involved in the assault of Mr. Wade, just as there have been no consequences for the officers involved in numerous incidents at the jail.
If Sheriff Plummer will not hold his officers accountable for their wrongful and unlawful conduct, then a jury will have to do instead.