CLEVELAND, Ohio — Prosecutors sought Thursday to dismiss a federal charge against a former Cuyahoga County jail guard accused of violating an inmate’s civil rights.
The decision in John McCloud’s case comes after U.S. District Judge John Adams ordered a psychological evaluation last fall. In a filing this week, authorities said McCloud was incompetent to stand trial “and irreparable.”
Federal prosecutors charged McCloud, 28, of Parma, with stripping the detainee of civil rights in September. The charge stems from the attack in the prison. During a hearing last fall, Adams raised concerns about McCloud’s ability to remember the incident, as the former guard has suffered a stroke since the attack.
Adams then ordered the evaluation. The content of the evaluation was deposited under seal. McCloud’s attorney, Edward Mullin, said “this was the correct and fair resolution for all [McCloud] is processing.
Brian McDonough, an assistant U.S. attorney, filed the papers asking for the charge to be dismissed.
The case against McCloud marked the first time federal prosecutors have filed charges against an officer at the prison, where nine inmates died between June 2018 and May 2019. The US Marshals Service found the facility “inhumane” during an inspection. It is unclear whether others should be charged.
The charge says the inmate had “a right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by a correctional officer.” It also indicates that McCloud assaulted the inmate when the man was not resisting.
The incident happened in October 2018, when McCloud became furious after the inmate ate a banana in his cell and threw the peel in the officer’s direction.
McCloud confronted the inmate and the two men fought for seven minutes, according to surveillance footage. Thereafter, McCloud returned to his workstation as the inmate returned to his cell.
McCloud told supervisors he passed out when he chased the inmate, according to reports. He was accused of using excessive force and failing to immediately report the incident to his superiors.
“He threw a banana peel at me, and I didn’t like it, so I went and confronted him, and I just… kinda snapped,” he told reporters. supervisors, according to reports.
When asked if he hit the inmate, McCloud replied, “I don’t remember. It was kind of like a blur, like I had blacked out or something.
Today, McCloud uses a wheelchair to get around and her family takes care of her needs.