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Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney Resigns

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney at a press conference in 2015 [Nick Castele / ideastream]
Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney at a press conference in 2015.

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney submitted a letter of resignation Friday.

County spokseperson Mary Louise Madigan confirmed to ideastream the resignation is effective Aug. 3.  Pinkney is resigning for “personal reasons,” she added.

“We thank him for his service and the search for his replacement will begin immediately,” Madigan said.

A source at the Sheriff's Department cast Pinkney's departure as a retirement rather than a resignation.

Chaos at the County Jail

Pinkney, a Cleveland native, has been sheriff since April 2015 and has nearly 30 years of experience with the department. He is the first African-American to serve as sheriff in Cuyahoga County.

The resignation comes at a time of turmoil and transition for the county sheriff's office. Nine inmates have died in custody in the past year, the most recent on May 10, and a grand jury indicted the former warden and two corrections officers in April. Just this week, a former nursing director for the Cuyahoga County Jail filed a whistelblower lawsuit against County Executive Armond Budish, former jail director Ken Mills and others for First Amendment retaliation and liability for criminal acts; Pinkney was not named in that suit. 

A U.S. Marshals Service report last fall described conditions in the Cuyahoga County Jail as inhumane. Several of the issues detailed in the report involved inadequate medical care. The county is also facing multiple lawsuits from inmates who allege mistreatment while in custody.