Thursday, Sep 29, 2016
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Police & Fire

Wood Co. investigating 2 deputies

BOWLING GREEN -- Two Wood County sheriff's deputies are under departmental investigation for alleged use of excessive force against a female inmate in the county jail, and one of them has been suspended with pay.

Involved in the probe are deputies Jack Burkett, 35, and Zach Bateson, 23, who work in the jail.

Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn would not identify which of the two was on paid administrative leave, nor would he explain why only one was suspended, citing union contracts. A review Friday of the officers' personnel files did not reveal any mention of the alleged incident, nor was there any documentation in the files indicating which employee was on leave.

Wood County deputies are represented by the Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. The union referred questions Friday to Amy Zawacki, a lawyer with Allotta, Farley, and Widman, the law firm that represents the deputies. She did not return a call seeking comment.

The sheriff said accusations of excessive force against the female inmate, whose name was not available, were brought to his attention about two weeks ago. The sheriff declined to say who filed the complaint, but said it was not the inmate.

"She did not file a complaint at all with us," Sheriff Wasylyshyn said.

During her arrest by Bowling Green police, the woman had assaulted those officers and bitten a Wood County deputy, the sheriff added.

He declined to say what the deputies are accused of doing to the inmate, but said "policies were not followed the way they should have been -- that's our concern.

"I'm a stickler with policies," Sheriff Wasylyshyn said. "I'm a very strict guy, so that's why we're looking into this. I want to make sure it's all done the way it's supposed to be."

Citing the ongoing investigation, the sheriff declined to release video from the jail's surveillance system, which he said "shows some things and not fully others."

"It's very rare we get these allegations, because we run a very tight ship," Sheriff Wasylyshyn said. "We understand there are two sides to every story, and we want to make sure we treat everyone -- both the inmates and deputies -- fairly."

 

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