PORTSMOUTH — Protesters marched from Tracy Park to the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office, asking for answers in the death of an inmate.
On June 4, 2020, the Daily Times reported on an incident at the Scioto County Jail. According to a release issued by the Scioto County Sheriff’s Department, Kevin L. Bailey, 56, of Portsmouth, was being escorted from medical back to his pod at around 10:30 p.m. May 26 when an altercation occurred.
Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Todd Miller stated, “He fled from the officers. When the officers caught up with him, they attempted to gain control of him. The inmate became combative with the officers, and the inmate and the officers fell to the ground. As the inmate was falling to the ground, he hit his head on an open door in the facility.”
Miller stated an emergency squad was called and removed Bailey from the facility. Miller stated that at least two officers were escorting Bailey at the time of the incident.
Bailey died Monday at a Columbus hospital.
While the investigation is still pending, Bailey’s sister Karen Skaggs has been trying to get answers. On Thursday, Skaggs, along with several other friends, family and residents of Scioto County, marched down to the sheriff’s office asking for answers.
“What do we want? … Justice!” Protesters shouted as they marched to the jail. Once there, Skaggs repeatedly asked for a deputy to speak to her with no success.
“It’s under investigation. I get that.” Skaggs said. “But it’s been three weeks, and they won’t answer my calls or tell me anything. All I want is someone to tell me something.”
While Skaggs waits for the investigation results, she shared she does not believe the incident happened as the department said in the release.
“It was reported to me that a deputy picked him up upside down and slammed his head into the concrete floor several times,” Skaggs said. “Then rammed his head into the door several times, and then after he was unconscious, dropped him to the floor and kicked him.”
Skaggs shared that Bailey received several injuries from the incident, including a fractured skull with several brain bleeds, six broken ribs and a black eye.
“I have a witness that says they saw them walk him back to the infirmary and then brought him back in a wheelchair,” Skaggs said. “He was lifeless and had blood all over him and they had to go back in and repaint that room that it happened in.”
As Skaggs and the rest of the protesters chanted outside the building, some banged on doors and held signs up to windows hoping to attract attention for someone to come out and speak with Skaggs. Protesters could be heard trying to have conversations with deputies who, according to protesters, were laughing and taking videos from inside.
“If a man did do this to my brother, all I want is justice,” Skaggs said. “It wasn’t even reported to the prosecutor like it should have been. Why didn’t they report it immediately? He was very disturbed about that also.”
On June 8, Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman released a statement on Facebook.
“Please be advised that it is the policy of the Prosecuting Attorney to not publicly discuss pending investigations. Not only is it a policy, it is an ethical duty not to discuss details of such with the media. Such speech before a trial takes place could taint potential jurors and thereby undermine the integrity of the judicial system.
While I understand the outrage expressed by members of the community with respect to some very high profile matters, it is the prosecutor’s duty to seek justice through the court system and leave his or her talking to the courtroom,” Tieman posted.
As protesters slowly started to trickle out, Skaggs thanked everyone who came out in support of her brother and seek justice.
“Kevin had a good heart and a good soul and would help anybody, even though he needed help himself. He would help anyone who needed it,” Skaggs said.
Skaggs hopes that she will soon have answers from the Sheriff’s office and knows that not all law enforcement is corrupt.
“I just want the truth. I know that not every deputy in there is bad. I know there are some good ones,” Skaggs said. “We have had anonymous reports from deputies tell us they are disgusted by what happened to him. I just want the one who is bad to be brought forward and justice to be served.”
Reach Adam Black at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1927, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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