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Woman Pepper Sprayed At County Jail Sues Officers And County

From left: Lawyers Ashlie Case Sletvold and Subodh Chandra of The Chandra Law Firm LLC and their client, Chantelle Glass, who is seeking unspecified damages in a civil suit against two Cuyahoga County corrections officers who restrained and pepper sprayed her last July. [Afi Scruggs / ideastream]
Lawyers Ashlie Case Sletvold and Subodh Chandra of The Chandra Law Firm LLC and their client, Chantelle Glass

A woman who was pepper sprayed while being held in the Cuyahoga County Corrections Center last year is suing the county and two of its deputies for violating her civil rights.

Chantelle Glass filed a  lawsuit on Wednesday in Common Pleas Court against corrections officers Idris-Farid Clark and Robert Marsh claiming the officers used unreasonable force against her while in custody almost exactly one year ago. The suit alleges the officers strapped Glass in a restraining chair, and pepper-sprayed her after she asked to make a phone call. She is also suing the county for  “deliberate indifference/failure to train and supervise corrections officers and personnel within the jail.”

Glass is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Cuyahoga County Communications Director Eliza Wing says the county does not comment on pending litigation.

Glass’s lawyer, Ashlie Case Sletvold of The Chandra Law Firm LLC, said the officers’ actions are indicative of the culture at the jail.

“Some of the instances of other abuses… it demonstrates the type of callous indifference that you can see in the surveillance video and the body cam video,” Sletvold said at a Wednsday press conference.

Both Clark and Marsh are among five officers indicted in April by a special grand jury. Clark has been charged with felonious assault, while Marsh was charged with misdemeanor assault. Clark sprayed Glass, while Marsh held her. The charges came after a U.S. Marshals investigation of the Cuyahoga County Jail last winter, and called conditions there “inhumane.” The facility has been plagued by a string of inmate deaths: eight in 2018 and one this year.

Glass was arrested at her mother’s home on an out-of-state traffic warrant on July 16, 2018, after police were called to her mother's home for an unrelated incident involving a family memeber harming herself. The officers ran warrants on everyone present and found Glass had a misdemeanor warrant from New Jersey, her lawyers said. She was taken to county jail and held for two days.

The surveillance video from the incident, provided by Glass's lawyers, shows a handcuffed Glass being walked into a room with a restraining chair. She sits in the chair without incident, while her lap, shoulders, and arms are strapped. As the over-the-shoulder restraints are being applied and tightened by Marsh, Clark pulls out a container of pepper spray and begins to shake it. When officers strap her feet, she swings her right leg forward. Marsh hits her in the face. As Glass kicks Marsh, Clark runs to her, holds her by the hair and sprays her directly in the eyes from inches away. The survelliance video does not include sound. 

The continued video, apparently from a body cam and with audio, show officers ignoring Glass as she cries for help, repeatedly saying she has asthma, that she cannot breathe and asking that "someone please help me" and wipe her face for her, as she is still restrained. She is eventually taken into a utility closet and doused with water. Afterwards, she is wheeled into the jail’s infirmary, where she sits for several minutes before receiving care.