I-Team video: New twist in case of jail locks popped by snack bags

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio -- The FOX 8 I-Team has found a local jail guard supervisor just won a fight to get his old job back after getting punished for how he exposed a problem in the Cuyahoga County Jail with locks on cell doors. The I-Team revealed the problem to the public back in 2017.

The county demoted corporal Charles Campbell, but an arbitrator has ruled he should get his rank back and most of his back pay he lost after getting demoted.

The arbitrator determined Cuyahoga County went too far disciplining Campbell.

Back in 2017, The I-Team revealed video showing how inmates in the county jail could use spoons and snack bags to pop locks to cell doors. Records show Corporal Campbell videotaped that and got demoted because the county believed he didn’t immediately report the problem to management when he could have done that.

Campbell appealed through the union, and the case went to arbitration.

Now an arbitrator has ruled “a demotion was excessive.” And, “A fourteen-day suspension would be more reasonable…”

The arbitrator also wrote, “Although (the officer) violated the County’s rules concerning safety incidents, there were mitigating circumstances present that did not warrant permanent demotion.”

The union had argued the problem with the locks put both officers and inmates in danger.

The county had told the I-Team the problem with the locks was not widespread, and it could be prevented by jail guards making sure each cell was locked firmly.

This ruling comes as the Cuyahoga County Jail has been under investigation for a series of inmate deaths, deplorable conditions and short-staffing.

The former jail director resigned in November. Ken Mills has since been indicted on charges of tampering with records, falsification and obstruction. He goes to court for the first time on Monday.

The county has also advertised the job for a new administrator of its jails, and the new job posting has a salary range of $104,000-$114,000.

Read more stories on the jail, here.

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