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MAHONING COUNTY Sheriff fires 2 deputies in struggle with inmate



Published: Wed, May 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The deputies were hired a year ago, so they were in the final days of their probation.

By PATRICIA MEADE

VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Two Mahoning County deputy sheriffs who used force on a rowdy female inmate have been fired.

The deputies, Tawanna Young, 24, of Warren and Melissa DeSavigny, 23, of Girard, had been on paid administrative leave since May 2, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation, said Sheriff Randall A. Wellington. The decision to fire the women, both hired May 30, 2000, was made late Tuesday.

The sheriff took action after the inmate, Tanisha Wright, 19, of Campbell reported being roughed up by the deputies a week ago. Wright remains in county jail on charges of theft, obstructing official business, falsification and no driver's license, said Maj. Michael Budd.

Because the deputies were still within their one-year probationary period, the sheriff was able to terminate them.

Wellington said the probationary period is the final phase in the hiring process. The deputies, he said, proved unsatisfactory because they didn't follow department rules and call for a supervisor when the altercation with the inmate escalated.

Report: Young's report of the event shows that Wright became unruly when asked to not sit in a chair by the phone if she wasn't going to use the phone. The inmate refused several orders to move, Young said.

Things escalated when DeSavigny assisted Young to get Wright back into her cell. Young said Wright grabbed her by the throat and screamed an obscenity.

"I quickly grabbed her arm and pushed Wright backwards. Inmate Wright then threw two punches at my face, on the left cheek," Young said in her report. "I then grabbed Wright's hair and kicked her in her left leg for a distraction."

Young had wanted Wright charged with assault on a peace officer but the facts didn't merit the charge, Budd said.

The major said there was some misconduct by the inmate, but it was difficult to prove who was at fault because the only witnesses were those who were involved.




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