All Chantelle Glass wanted to was to make a phone call to let someone know she was locked up in the Cuyahoga County Jail in Ohio over a missed court date stemming from an unpaid traffic ticket from two years earlier.
But jailers refused her request after she would not pick up a spoon from the floor upon the insistence of a female guard.
Not much else is known about that spoon but Glass said she began making loud noises and banging on her cell in an attempt to draw the attention of a supervisor to request her phone call, which is her right under Ohio state law.
But that just annoyed supervisor Robert Marsh who ordered Glass strapped to a restraint chair where he punched her in the face while another guard named Idris-Farid Clark unleashed a six-second stream of pepper spray into her eyes from six inches away.
The incident took place on July 16, 2018 but Cuyahoga County did not release the above video until Wednesday, more than ten months after the original incident. And only after local news company cleveland.com filed a claim with the Ohio Court of Claims in March 2019.
The video ends with the guards wheeling her out of frame. Glass said she was wheeled into a small, isolated cell where she remained strapped to the chair for two hours with the pepper spray burning her lungs.
“That day, I thought I was going to die,” Glass told cleveland.com. “I sat in that cell I prayed to God that I wouldn’t die because I couldn’t breathe. I prayed that I wouldn’t die there.”
Had she did die, she would have been one of nine inmates who died that year in the Cuyahoga County Jail, which was already under investigation by the U.S. Marshals Office when Glass was strapped to the chair.
The federal agency was looking into whistleblower allegations of inhumane treatment of inmates. Eight inmates died last year and one so far this year.
In concluding its investigation in November 2018, the federal agency published a report that gave the Cuyahoga County Jail a rating of “unsatisfactory/at risk” for its high number of in-custody deaths as well as its 55 inmate suicide attempts in the previous year.
Since then, indictments against jail staff have been flying, including the arrests of Marsh and Clark for their attack on Glass.
At the center of the abuse and corruption is the jailhouse restraining chair, which was reserved for inmates who annoyed the guards.
“This appeared to be a ritual of torture— something the officers were accustomed to doing and had practiced many times,” said Glass’ attorney, Subodh Chandra.
There will likely be more videos of inmates being tortured in the restraint chair in the future.
In February 5, 2018, an inmate named Joshua Castleberry had asked guards for an extra sandwich, which resulted in a trip to the chair for the 23-year-old Army veteran who had been arrested after getting into a fight with his brother.
Once securely strapped, guards John Wilson and Jason A. Jozwiak punched him repeatedly, busting out several teeth, including one that ended up lodged in his nasal cavity and needed to be surgically removed. Both guards were charged with felonious assault in April 2019.
On March 22, 2019, Cuyahogo County Jail guards Nicholas Evans and Timothy Dugan strapped a male inmate to the chair and punched him repeatedly, leaving him with a concussion.
As they did with Glass and Castleberry, the guards left the man strapped to the chair in an isolated cell for two hours instead of transporting him for medical care. Evans is accused of turning off his body camera prior to abusing the inmate but the wall camera was recording.
And like the other guards, Evans and Dugan were charged with felonious assault as well as other misdemeanors for their attack on an inmate.
Glass’ ordeal began after her mother had called police over a heated argument she was having with her sister. Although she was not charged in connection with the argument, deputies discovered she had missed a court date over an unpaid traffic ticket from 2016, which is what landed her in jail.
Once in jail, she found herself surrounded by sadistic guards who were more than happy to strap her into a torturing device when she continued complaining about not being allowed to make a phone call.
“‘Well, I’ll just have you maced and strapped to a chair,” the female guard assured Glass after she refused to pick up the spoon.
It does not appear at the moment if Glass has filed a lawsuit but her attorney, Chandra, is representing Gary Brack, the whistleblower nurse who sparked the federal investigation.