Investigator: Hidden cameras catch jailhouse choking

9:16 PM, Sep 25, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- A city jail guard with a long history of disciplinary problems is at it again, this time caught on tape choking an inmate, berating his boss and apparently sleeping on the job, Channel 3 News has learned.

Public Safety Director Martin Flask suspended Officer Cameron Williams for 15 days this summer, following a disciplinary hearing.

Flask relied in part on surveillance videotapes that captured the three incidents, all of which occurred last Christmas at the city's House of Corrections Annex in Highland Hills.

"I believe his conduct was inappropriate," Flask said. "I believe his conduct was wrong."  

The first incident occurred near the medical unit, according to the disciplinary report.

Williams told an inmate that he wasn't allowed to bring a cup of juice into the unit to take his medication. A supervisor disagreed, the report said. But Williams wouldn't let it go.

On the surveillance tape obtained by Channel 3 News, Williams is seen confronting the inmate a second time. Suddenly, the inmate throws his juice at the officer.

Williams immediately grabs the inmate by the throat and ignores his supervisor's orders to let him go. The supervisor eventually succeeded in separating the two.

Later that day, Williams was belligerent and disrespectful towards the supervisor, telling her, "you would not let me kick his (expletive)."

Williams went on, saying, "That's how we do things here....Get the (expletive) out of here."

In the report, Flask noted that he decided against disciplining Williams for choking the inmate because Williams was simply reacting to the juice being thrown in his face.

But Flask said that Williams violated city rules when he berated his boss.

Flask also found Williams guilty of ignoring his post after reviewing video of Williams leaning back in his chair, with his head back and arms folded, for an extended period of time.

The video shows that while Williams was resting, inmates were walking in and out of the dorm area while others were entering the kitchen area and preparing food for themselves.

"I guarantee you, if he comes before me again with another disciplinary action, he won't get a second chance," Flask said.

But Channel 3 News found it's not the first time Williams has been disciplined. His personnel file shows he's been suspended three times:

  • Williams got 5 days off after being caught sleeping on the job by his supervisor in December 2003. Williams didn't even notice that a supervisor took his keys away while he was sleeping.
  • He was suspended for 10 days after being caught with a prostitute on Nov. 27, 2006, his personnel file said. Williams had picked up a woman at a gas station, drove to an abandoned home and had the woman perform oral sex on him. Police busted up the party after responding to a call from a neighbor who feared someone was trying to strip the home. In a written statement, the prostitute said that she offered Williams a $15 discount because he was in Corrections officer. Williams pleaded no contest to a disorderly conduct charge and paid a $225 fine. But he never told his superiors.
  • Williams was given three days for holding an impromptu, unauthorized fire drill for his unit last August. During the drill, Williams left one inmate in the unit because the inmate was in the shower. "This inmate had access to the control room, kitchen and the entire Annex while he was unattended, giving him the opportunity to open the security gate or obtain a weapon," the personnel file noted.  

In addition, Williams tested positive for cocaine in 2005. And just this May, a co-worker says Williams forcibly kissed her twice in an elevator. That case is pending an investigation.


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