Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Enters Mediation

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Talks between the U.S. Justice Department and Franklin County jailers started this Tuesday morning. The sheriff’s office has been accused of abusively using tasers on inmates. WOSU reports there’s no sign of a quick resolution.

Representatives of the U.S. Justice Department and the Ohio Legal Rights Service met with attorneys for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in U.S. District Court. The talks were held before Magistrate Judge Terence Kemp.

Sheriff Jim Karnes, at least 28 of his deputies and other members of the sheriff’s staff have been sued for using stun guns against inmates and arrestees who “pose no threat of violence or harm to themselves or others.”

The Ohio Legal Rights Services initially filed the suit in July, and the U.S. Justice Department joined it about a week ago. Court filings describe in detail incidents where deputies tased inmates and arrestees who already were restrained, pregnant or with a mental disability.

The Franklin County Prosecutor’s office is representing the sheriff’s office. Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, who could not comment on the specifics of the mediation, says there is no indication talks will end quickly.