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Sheriff’s Deputy Fired Over Inmate Dancing Demands

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio -- A local sheriff’s deputy is out of a job after investigators say he forced inmates to dance to the music of R&B singer Usher as punishment.

Summit County deputy Dominic Martucci was fired Wednesday after an internal investigation revealed that he made inmates dance to get back privileges.

"I didn't dance, I just seen it was a gross abuse of people's authority, and I just didn't like it," said former inmate Williams Reeves.

Reeves reported the incident, which sparked the internal investigation. He says on April 11, Deputy Martucci had removed a microwave from one of the pods and placed the inmates in lock-up as punishment for being disruptive.

"We, at that point conducted an internal investigation into the matter and found that some of the rules and regulations of the sheriff's office were violated," said Inspector Bill Holland with the sheriff’s department.

According to the internal report obtained by Fox 8 News, Martucci told the inmates to entertain him by dancing, and then he would return the microwave.

"He pulled these guys and said, 'You have five minutes to figure out a five-minute routine.' They ended up bringing a couple of deputies and they were looking at it, and he brought out his iPod and put it over their heads like this, and went ahead and started playing music while these guys did a bump and grind," Reeves described.

According to the report, one inmate did "the worm," another did "the robot," another danced "old school," and the others just danced.

In 2007, Martucci was one of five deputies charged in the death of an inmate they were trying to restrain in the psychiatric ward of the Summit County Jail in 2006.  All of them were eventually cleared.

According to the report on the dancing incident, Martucci said "he thought it would be funny and that he thought that it would lighten the tension on the pod."  He also said "it hadn't occurred to him at the time that it would embarrass or humiliate the inmates."

"We pride ourselves that if anyone walks through the doors of the Summit County Jail, they are treated with respect and dignity and members of our agency that don't buy into that philosophy have to face some sort of discipline," said Holland.

Inspector Holland says the deputies who watched the inmates dance, could also face discipline.

Fox 8 News tried to reach Dominic Martucci, but were unable to reach him for comment.