Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Sheriff And Deputy
After about a minute, Deputy Michael Swanson, nearest the bunks, appears to do something to the mattress. When Johns returned to the cell, he smelled the residue.
"I think ultimately it comes down to a culture at the jail that this is allowed," said Toby Olvera, Johns's Attorney
Johns says the abuse started more than a year earlier when he complained about another jail officer. Sheriff's Internal Affairs Inspector Mike Gordon looked into Johns's complaint. He says a single frame of the surveillance video shows a pepper spray can was the only evidence backing up his claim.
"I can't say for a fact that we would have been able to sustain it," said Gordon. "His honesty we took into account. He admitted doing it. He admitted it was a mistake, and he suffered the consequences as a result."
Deputy Swanson received two days unpaid suspension and six months of probation more than the minimum required by FDLE. Johns has filed a lawsuit against the deputy and the sheriff in federal court alleging his civil rights have been violated and has asked for financial damages.
"By continuing to employ him, it is sending a dangerous signal to other guards at the jail that this sort of thing is tolerated and encouraged," said Olvera.
Defense attorneys for both men are denying the claims. A potential trial is probably a year away.
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