Lucas County deputy accused of choking jail inmate

Kyle Espinosa
Kyle Espinosa

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (Toledo News Now) - A man who has been in trouble with the law before says this time, he's the victim.

Kyle Espinosa says while he was in jail last week, a Lucas County Sheriff's deputy choked him and dragged him down the hallway moments after a verbal altercation between the two. Now the Internal Affairs department of the sheriff's office is involved to investigate.

The second round of witnesses will be interviewed on Monday. That includes the sergeant who was present and other officers. Meanwhile, Espinosa wants the deputy, who he says bruised him, to be disciplined.

Espinosa, 25, was arrested on September 14 for misdemeanor warrants, but while in custody at the jail the following day, he says things got violent.

Espinosa says one of the deputies was in the process of transporting him, along with other inmates, to the courthouse when Espinosa was asked to move out of a doorway.

"I said, 'Why are you saying something to me? Say something to somebody else,'" Espinosa said.

According to a court document, after the deputy asked Espinosa to move away a second time, the deputy states Espinosa spit in the deputy's face and threatened to beat him up.

That same report, filed by the deputy, explains that's when he grabbed Espinosa and put him against the wall. Espinosa, however, has a different story:

"He grabbed me up by my neck and right arm, which is on my report, and he drug me from the doorway to the back of the cage in the holding cell in the courtroom for the jail, and started choking me," Espinosa said.

Espinosa says he was kept in a separate holding cell for 45 minutes after the incident.

"I'm sitting here on misdemeanors," he said. "I know I'm going home. Why would I assault you?"

So he took his story to Internal Affairs and filed a complaint.

The deputy involved filed charges against Espinosa and the sheriff's office issued two warrants – one for intimidation, one for aggravated assault – for Espinosa seven days after the reported altercation.

Head of Internal Affairs Captain Don Atkinson says that any time there are claims of a violation of civil rights, the case becomes a top priority. Right now, he says they're gathering surveillance videos and witness statements.

If the deputy is determined to have behaved in a criminal manner, he could face charges as well as a possible suspension from the job.

Atkinson also says the warrants against Espinosa were dropped on Friday, September 26. Espinosa says that is not enough.

"Charges can get dropped, but I want something to happen," he said.

Espinosa says he plans to hire an attorney.

The deputy in this case is currently not facing any charges.

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