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Published: Thursday, 1/9/2003

Inmate accused of fabricating jail-beating story

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

LIMA, Ohio - A man who said Allen County corrections officers in November beat and kicked him repeatedly has been charged with falsification and obstructing official business.

Sheriff Daniel W. Beck said the man made up the story and enticed other jail inmates to go along with his account.

“I know my people pretty well, and I was absolutely convinced that this situation did not happen,” he said.

Daniel Bernard Burke was charged at the jail Tuesday and released on an unsecured appearance bond. He will be arraigned tomorrow in Lima Municipal Court.

Mr. Burke, 18, claimed he was beaten and kicked while being booked Nov. 12 into the Allen County jail on a probation violation. Family members called the local branch of the NAACP for assistance. Mr. Burke is African-American.

Sheriff Beck said he was upset by the allegations, and his office found in its investigation the force used wasn't excessive or unnecessary. He said Mr. Burke “took an aggressive stance with [a corrections officers] and would not obey their orders. Our officers got into a physical confrontation with him.”

“I cannot say that injury did not result,” Sheriff Beck said. “It was not an excessive-force issue.”

Others inmates did not support Mr. Burke's story, the sheriff said. Two inmates had added their names to Mr. Burke's in a letter that said the incident went on for 20 minutes. Mr. Burke had told them they could make a lot of money if they helped, the sheriff said.

The statements in the letter hindered the investigation, Sheriff Beck said, and are the reason for the obstructing official business charge.

Mr. Burke last night said his being charged “was wrong because I was beaten in handcuffs.”

Sheriff Beck said inmates saw Mr. Burke “running into the railings trying to cause personal injury. He encouraged an inmate to engage in sparring to inflict injury to his body and face.”

Falsification is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Obstructing official business is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.



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