Eight prison employees under review after inmate death in Columbus


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said eight of its employees are under review for the death of an inmate.

Michael McDaniel, 55, collapsed and died Feb. 6 at the reception center for the Pickaway Correctional Institution in Orient, after officers say they had to use force against him. An investigative report of his death was released Tuesday.

The investigation found that officers used force against McDaniel five times, but investigators say four of those incidents were not justified.

The incident started when McDaniel and a corrections officer exchanged words while he was in his cell. The officer then targeted him for a cell search, and when McDaniel became combative, officers used force against him.

That incident is the one time use of force against McDaniel was found to have been justified. But the investigation said cell searches are supposed to be random and that the officer should have de-escalated the situation.

After that use of force, officers took McDaniel to the medical unit, but over 47 minutes, he collapsed or was taken to the ground by officers sixteen times. 

McDaniels collapsed and died outside the medical unit after allegedly refusing treatment, but his death was ruled a homicide by the Franklin County coroner.

“The nurse who provided medical care after the incident and after McDaniel passed away filled out a document indicating that he was refusing medical care, and we believe that is a false document,” said Annette Chambers-Smith, director of the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. “That is why the nursing board is involved, and that is why that nurse would have been placed on administrative leave, but she no longer works for us.”

Of the 10 employees involved, eight are under the employee review process. Two have already resigned, including that nurse.

The full report has been sent to the Pickaway County prosecutor for potential criminal action.

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