Deputy suspended for three days over scuffle with inmate

Deputy suspended for three days over scuffle with inmate


A Mahoning County sheriff’s deputy, who was engaged in an Aug. 1 physical altercation with a jail inmate in a county courthouse basement prisoner holding area, has been suspended for three days without pay for failing to seek assistance from another deputy in dealing with the unruly prisoner.

Sheriff Randall Wellington announced his decision this morning concerning Deputy William N. Horn, who he said used appropriate force in the confrontation with Duniek Christian, who reached for the holding area door as if to try to escape.

“I felt he was at fault by not having somebody else in the room with him because Christian was directing profanity towards him” while being escorted from the courtroom to the holding area, Wellington said.

Horn has accepted the suspension and will not appeal it, Wellington added.

The sheriff said in October that he had turned over to the FBI the probe of the altercation between Horn and Christian, which was caught on video. The federal agency was to investigate possible civil rights violations.

Horn, who was hired by the county in May 2000, was placed on paid administrative leave and later put on desk duty in the sheriff’s records room pending the outcome of the investigation.

His suspension began today, and he will return to courthouse security duty after it ends, the sheriff said.

Christian, 28, said he was changing from the civilian clothing he wore for his jury trial back to a jail jumpsuit when Horn assaulted him and repeatedly punched him.

Horn contended he was defending himself after Christian assaulted him.

Christian was sentenced to three years in prison after the jury convicted him of failure to comply with a police order.

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