Family hopes for criminal charges in death of man at Pickaway Correctional Institution

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – People closely associated with the family of a man who died while in custody at the Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient said they would like to see the eight officers involved criminally charged.

The report, released Tuesday, has been sent to the Pickaway County Prosecutors’ Office to determine what, if any, charges will be filed.

Those close to the family said what they saw was very disturbing, saying Tuesday was a very tough day for the family of Michael McDaniel.

As founder of Opportunities Peoples Justice Leaders, Chazidy Bowman has been working with McDaniel’s family since he died in February.

“I can only imaging how disturbing it is for a family to see this with their loved one because I know how disturbed I am,” Bowman said.

Opportunities Peoples Justice Leaders advocates for the civil rights of inmates.

“I know that Jada and her family, they’re all still trying to process what we all saw today,” Bowman said.

On Thursday, an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction report on McDaniel’s death was released along with video of the incident.

According to the chief investigator, while handcuffed and on the way to the medical unit to be checked out after the first incident, McDaniel was forced to the ground four times and collapsed 10 times. 

“I think that was the most disturbing part for everyone, to see him helpless,” Bowman said. “To see him handcuffed and continuously being slammed to the ground over and over again for no cause.”

Jada is Michael McDaniel’s sister. Bowman shared this statement from her, saying, “Saddened that he was mistreated on so many levels by so many people. It was very disturbing and heart-wrenching. Still many unanswered questions.”

“Their brother is gone, he’s not here, and as we all saw today, there’s so many ways that could have been avoided and it wasn’t,” Bowman said.

McDaniel was two weeks into a six-month sentence for aggravated assault. Ten ODRC employees were involved in the February incident. Two have resigned and eight are under review and could be punished.

“There’s just nothing about this that’s OK,” said ODRC Director Annette Chambers-Smith. “It does not comport with what our department is about.”

Much of what happened when officers first took place behind a staircase, where there were no cameras. Chambers-Smith said cameras have since been added around the facility.

In June, ODRC started a pilot program putting body cameras on some officers. Chambers-Smith said the incident with McDaniel did not spur that program but did speed it up.

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