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$140,000 Settlement in Ohio Jail Beating, Retaliation Case

Corrionne Lawrence was booked into CCJ on September 16, 2018, for a probation violation.

When he answered a booking guard’s question in Spanish, the officer insisted he was “just giving [them] a hard time.” The officer told others, “He’s bullshitting, put him in the chair.” Lawrence was strapped into a restraint chair and placed in a “freezing-cold room.”

After going four hours without being checked on, Lawrence responded in English and was removed from the chair.

Upon completing booking, Lawrence requested to remain separated from a Stacy Norris, who was charged with murdering Lawrence’s cousin. Lawrence, however, had his housing assignment switched on October 17, 2018, and was moved to a cellblock with Norris. The next morning, Norris stood at Lawrence’s cell door taunting him as a guard prepared to open the cell door.

In preparation to defend himself, Lawrence urinated in a milk container. He claimed that he threw it on Norris as a preemptive strike, splashing some on the guard. Once the attack was broken up, guards were more concerned that the guard was splashed with urine than the assault upon Lawrence. He was handcuffed and escorted to an elevator without working video and Corporal Christopher Little deactivated his body camera. Once the elevator doors closed, Lawrence was viciously attacked.

Little threatened Lawrence with further attacks if he did not remain quiet, and he prevented him from talking to or receiving medical care for his injuries. Lawrence was disciplined for the fighting and placed in isolation. Another guard threatened to mace Lawrence and hang him to “make it look like a suicide” when Lawrence asked for a shower. U.S. Marshals visited Lawrence’s cell on October 30, 2018, to inquire about CCJ’s conditions, and Lawrence told them about his treatment. He was subsequently retaliated against and labeled a “snitch.”

The civil complaint alleged other instances to show a policy, pattern, and practice of “unprovoked and unwarranted acts of violence” on other persons confined at CCJ.

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Related legal case

Lawrence v. Cuyahoga County