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MAHONING CO. JAIL Ex-inmate sues ex-deputies, county



Published: Tue, August 27, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The fight started when the inmate was told to move away from a telephone.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- A Campbell woman has sued two former Mahoning County deputy sheriffs, saying they roughed her up while she was locked up.

Tanisha Wright of Lettie Avenue is seeking unspecified damages from Tawanna Young and Melissa DeSavigny, both of Warren. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court, Youngstown.

Mahoning County and its sheriff, Randall Wellington, are also named as defendants.

Two sides

The suit says that Young and DeSavigny unnecessarily used force on Wright in May 2001 while she was an inmate at the county jail, where the two worked. It says Young held Wright in a chokehold and DeSavigny kicked her in the head before handcuffing her during a scuffle at the jail.

Wright was then dragged from her cell and thrown down a set of stairs, the suit says. At the bottom of the stairs, the defendants "bashed Wright's head off a fire extinguisher several times," the suit says.

According to Vindicator files, the deputies said Wright became unruly when told to not sit in a chair by a telephone if she was not going to use the phone.

Young's report on the incident said Wright refused several orders to move. Things escalated when DeSavigny came in to help move Wright back to her cell. The deputies said Wright attacked them and they defended themselves.

Wright says in her lawsuit that when Young came back with DeSavigny, she had already returned to her cell and locked herself in. The deputies put on protective gloves, entered the cell and assaulted her, the suit says.

Internal probe

During an internal investigation launched after Wright filed a complaint, the deputies said they lost their balance while taking Wright down the stairs to the booking area, and that they all fell. Wright hit her head on the fire extinguisher as a result of the fall, they said.

Young and DeSavigny were fired by Wellington as a result of the fracas. Both were still on the probationary period before being hired full time. They were fired for not following department rules and calling for a supervisor when the situation escalated.

bjackson@vindy.com




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