New Philadelphia, Ohio - Tuscarawas County’s Sheriff is calling on local media to help him dispel recent rumors alleging inmate abuse at the county jail.
Tusco TV and WJER were among the agencies invited to a private screening of surveillance footage captured before, during and after the incidents are claimed to have occurred. Sheriff Orvis Campbell said this is something he has never done before.
“Social media has changed the game a little bit. I’m ok with it except for it’s just unfamiliar ground,” he said.
Campbell said he wanted to take the opportunity to address some of the many accusations being made against his office on social media, one being that one his corrections officers attempted to kill a diabetic inmate named Hunter Hollins by giving him too much insulin. Campbell said they investigated the claim and determined that this never occurred.
“The corrections officer about 10 o’clock pm takes him down to medical, that medical portion of the facility. The exam room where this is done is not on camera.. You can imagine why, right? That’s where the doctors and nurses see him. And he takes his normal dose. There’s some discussion because there’s multiple syringes there and he takes his normal dose. They test his glucose again for the dose he’s required to have, and that’s it. That’s all there is to it. The inmate then fabricates a story saying I almost took a double dose when they tried to force me.”
Campbell said the second allegation was that a corrections officer asked inmate Lucian Lambes to ‘take care of Hollins,’ and in exchange, he would drop one of Lambes’ attempted murder charges. Campbell then presented a video clip showing what actually happened.
Footage captured at approximately 11 pm Friday evening shows Hollins grabbing a stack of books from under the staircase and handing them to Lambes, who takes them inside his cell. Lambes then reappears and enters Hollins’ cell right before the guard comes back around to lock everyone down.
While not visible in the footage, Campbell said Lambes used the books and his mattress to make it appear as though he was sleeping in his bed so he could sneak into Hollins’ cell and the two of them could play cards.
“What they did is they saw that the CO went to one of the other units to start locking people down and confirm that their cells were locked, and Lucian ducked in then so no one could see him,” he said. “He wasn’t counting on us having it on camera.”
Campbell says when the guard came back around, Hollins stood in front of the window so he wouldn’t see Lambes in his cell.
“When they come and do their checks, every time they do their checks, those big steel doors make noise, so the inmates know we’re coming, so every time what inmate Hollins does is he pops back up and he blocks the window so we can’t see because they know we’re not allowed to have cameras in their cell,” he said.
Campbell then presented footage from around 3 am when the guard catches on to the inmates’ scheme. The guard then continues his rounds as he waits on another CO to back him up when he opens the cell.
“He’s figured it out but he’s not allowed to get them out of the cell right now because that’s a danger, that’s a facility danger to open a door alone when you’re locked in a pod without anyone,” Campbell explained.
A few minutes later, two guards enter the unit, open the door, and tell Lucian to get back into his cell, which he does.
“There’s absolutely no force here. All they do is open the door, and they make Lucian go back to his cell,” Campbell said. “There’s no force at all. There’s not even an escort, what we call an escort position, grabbing the arm and walking them down the hall.”
The guards are seen on camera arguing with Lucian, but they do not enter his cell.
Campbell then shared a third video clip from around 8:30 that morning, when the two inmates were issued disciplinary citations and refused to sign them. In the video, Lambes and Hollins are seen becoming argumentative and hostile toward the guards. One of the guards then shoves Lambes into his cell and locks the door. Hollins is still refusing to go into his cell, and the guards take him down to the floor.
Campbell said this footage was carefully reviewed during the investigation and shows the officers did not use excessive force.
“There’s not a single punch, not a single knee. They would have been authorized to punch him. They would have been authorized to knee him. They would have been authorized to do motor skill type grasps in parts of his body where there are pain pressure points, and this is what they did,” he said. “They were smart. They got the advantage by the number of bodies. They put him down.”
Campbell said Hollins was then escorted out of the unit and into the booking area to cool down. He said there was no additional use of force in this area, which is also monitored by video surveillance.
Campbell said Hollins did not experience any injuries at any point. Lambes received a black eye, but Campbell said they do not know whether the injury was sustained when he was shoved into his cell or whether it was self-inflicted, as no other physical contact occurred.
“We have checked and we have no other force where a corrections officer comes in contact or an inmate. We have nothing else,” he said.
A clip recorded shortly before Lambes reported the injury shows him twice ducking into his cell. When he emerges, the other inmates are seen looking at his face, and Lambes is also seen at one point gesturing toward his eye as he talks to the other inmates.
Campbell said all the footage will be reviewed by the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor who can request an outside investigation if he believes there is sufficient cause to do so.