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Sheriff's deputies indicted in inmate death

Published Sep 13, 2007 9:02 PM

A Summit County, Ohio, grand jury indicted five sheriff’s deputies on Sept. 7 in connection with the August 2006 death of inmate Mark McCallaugh Jr. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide caused by asphyxiation from multiple forms of restraint and blows. McCallaugh was 28.

The indictments are similar to the lawsuit filed last month by McCallaugh’s family against over a dozen deputies and jail medical staffers. Through their attorney, his parents have stated they believe that excessive force was used to subdue their son.

McCallaugh, who suffered from mental illness, was arrested Aug. 8, 2006, and charged with assaulting an Akron police officer. While in custody on Aug. 20, 2006, he became agitated and slashed his wrists. It was then, according to both the special prosecutor and the lawsuit, that the deputies went out of control.

McCallaugh was restrained by both his wrists and ankles, hit repeatedly with a stun gun, and sprayed with pepper spray. He was also beaten. The autopsy also revealed an unspecified anal injury.

The deputies will be arraigned Sept. 11 on charges ranging from: murder, for the ranking deputy; reckless homicide, for two other deputies; and felonious assault for the remaining two deputies. In a country where police brutality seldom is punished, this is unusual. So is the fact that the victim in this case, McCallaugh, was white.