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Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney To Retire Aug. 2

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's Clifford Pinkney's departure is a retirement and not a resignation, according to a copy of the letter obtained by ideastream.

Pinkney's last day with the department is Aug. 2. After a career of service than began with the U.S. Army before becoming part of Cuyahoga County law enforcement, "it is time for me to spend my time with my family and pursue new opportunites that have presented themselves," he wrote in the May 24 letter.

A Cleveland native, Pinkney 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.

County spokseperson Mary Louise Madigan  confirmed the sheriff's departure last week.

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

The letter also includes four pages detailing some of Pinkney's accomplishments as sheriff, but he leaves behind a county embroiled in lawsuits and a jail in chaos. 

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. Last week, the former nursing director for the Cuyahoga County Jail filed a whistleblower 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.