Sandusky County jail guard in pending suit for inmate's 2007 death

One of three Sandusky County jail guards awaiting discipline for exploiting a naked inmate on Jan. 10 is also a defendant in a pending wrongful death lawsuit.
Jessica Cuffman
Feb 4, 2012

One of three Sandusky County jail guards awaiting discipline for exploiting a naked inmate on Jan. 10 is also a defendant in a pending wrongful death lawsuit.

Frank Kaiser, 31, is one of several defendants in a federal lawsuit the parents of Craig Burdine filed in 2009.

Craig’s father, Jess Burdine, of Oak Harbor, said he wasn’t surprised to see Kaiser’s name among the three jail guards who were placed on paid administrative leave for how they treated a naked, schizophrenic woman in the jail last month.

Kaiser and guards Charlie Pump and Joshua Smith are accused of watching and taunting the naked woman for six hours while she was locked in a jail cell flooded with urine and water.

“Here he is again, messing with a poor woman that had no help and could not help herself,” Jess said. “Wow. You know what, he’s starting to show a pattern.”

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer placed Kaiser and the two other men on paid leave Jan. 11, pending disciplinary hearings and a followup investigation by Fremont police.

In the Burdine lawsuit, Kaiser, Overmyer, other deputies and Fremont police officers are named as defendants.

Craig died Aug. 11, 2007, after he was arrested by Fremont police and taken to the Sandusky County jail.

Jess and his wife, Mardella, filed the lawsuit after a similar case in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court didn’t come to fruition.

Kaiser is a central figure in the alleged use of excessive force against Craig, said Jess.

Craig was combative when he was arrested at about 3 a.m. the morning he died. He arrived at the county jail in the back of a Fremont police cruiser.

He was intoxicated and had already been maced, so officers radioed ahead that Craig would likely be spitting and would need to be dragged from the cruiser and into the jail, according to court documents.

Kaiser and Fremont police officers carried Craig into the jail’s shower room, where they removed his handcuffs and attempted to rinse the mace off his face.

When Craig resisted, a deputy shocked him three times with a taser. Craig didn’t respond to the jolts — instead, he struggled even more, court documents said.

Kaiser and another officer then handcuffed him.

According to court documents, Kaiser then pinned Craig to the floor, using his knee to hold Craig in place until paramedics arrived to take him to the hospital.

But when Craig was placed on a stretcher and carried to the ambulance, he became unresponsive.

Doctors pronounced him dead at 4:30 a.m.

The coroner’s office ruled he died of acute drug intoxication during “drug-induced excited delirium.”

But the autopsy report also showed he suffered blunt-force trauma to his neck and his trachea was crushed, Jess said.

That injury, Jess said, is what killed his son.

The lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial this summer, pending filings and other motions in the next few months, said the Burdines’ attorney, Jeff Nunnari.

Nunnari is still hopeful the Burdines will get the outcome they’re seeking.

“It’s just one of those cases that has to be tried,” Nunnari said. “Let the jury decide what the truth is.”

This legal gauntlet is similar to another pending lawsuit against Sandusky County Sheriff’s deputies.

The parents of Bryan Jones are fighting in federal court to get a jury trial in the death of their son, who deputies shot and killed in July 2010.

In the past year, attorneys in the Burdine case have taken depositions from dozens of witnesses.
Among them: Frank Kaiser.

During his May 2010 deposition, Kaiser appeared “arrogant,” Jess said.

Kaiser told attorneys he never received training specific to dealing with people with mental illnesses, according to a transcript of the deposition.

Nunnari questioned Kaiser about his training in regard to recognizing inmates who have mental health issues.

“From time to time over the years, we may have touched base on mentally ill inmates and ways to deal with them, what not, on occasion,” Kaiser said in the deposition. “But I’ve never had any formalized, actual training in it. Just going over experiences from what other training other people have had and have dealt with.”

Kaiser told attorneys he’s able to determine if someone in the jail has a mental illness, but only after observing them over a period of time.

He said he never had an opportunity to do that in Craig’s case.

In the incident last month at Sandusky County jail — where the woman was locked naked in a flooded cell — Kaiser had six hours to determine if the woman was mentally ill.

He had six hours to decide how to handle that situation.

When the 21-year-old woman was placed inside her cell, she promptly tried to flush her gown down the toilet, flooding the floor with urine and water.

Over the hours that followed, she masturbated for the guards and acted out sexually, according to a Fremont police investigation.

Investigators are still trying to determine if one or more of the guards encouraged the woman to behave in that manner, although other jail guards said one of the men admitted to watching the woman throughout the evening, according to the police investigation.

In a written statement to a jail supervisor, the woman said she is schizophrenic and had been without her medication for several hours before she was arrested.

Sheriff Kyle Overmyer’s supervisors said Kaiser has received training on jail policies and procedures through an academy that all Sandusky County deputies are required to attend.

That training would have included information about how to interact with mentally ill inmates.

Check out the PDFs below to read the Burdine family's complaint in the lawsuit, as well as arguments from Sandusky County and the city of Fremont. Also provided is Frank Kaiser's deposition.

 

 

Ties that bind

Craig Burdine died in the Sandusky County jail in 2007.

He suffered from persistent and acute fear of law enforcement officers, according to court documents.

In 1996 he was arrested in Ottawa County for driving under the influence. When he was taken to that county’s jail, he was subjected to excessive use of force by law enforcement there, according to court documents.

As a result of the trauma, he suffered physical and psychological injuries that, from then on, caused him to suffer “spontaneous and irrational hallucinations and have nightmares of being pursued, beaten and killed by the police,” court documents state.

Craig filed a lawsuit after that incident.

A jury awarded him more than $500,000 for his injuries.

Some of the defendants in his family’s wrongful death lawsuit against Sandusky County are acquaintances or friends of the Ottawa County officials named in the first lawsuit.

Sandusky County officials should have been aware of his past experiences and his fear of law enforcement, according to court documents.

 

 

All in the family

Sandusky County jail guards Frank Kaiser, Charlie Pump and Joshua Smith are on paid leave pending possible discipline for the way they treated a naked, schizophrenic inmate at the jail on Jan. 10.

The three guards all have relatives who work for Sandusky County or serve in various political functions.

Kaiser’s father is an investigator who works at Sandusky County prosecutor Thomas Stierwalt’s office.
Pump has an aunt who works for the county.

Smith’s brother is a board member for the Sandusky County Board of Elections.

None of the relationships, however, have any bearing on the investigation into the three men’s alleged actions on Jan. 10, said Bruce Hirt, chief deputy for Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer.

Comments

Bluto

Could that pic get any closer ?  Nice Fu Manchu .

mikel

so, let me get this straight.  this dude, craig, was according to a coroners report:

The coroner’s office ruled he died of acute drug intoxication during “drug-induced excited delirium.”

if his actions weren't violent then, i guess, the police would not have had to use force.  once again, let us blame everyone else but those who are ultimately responsible for the outcome of their actions.  the bottom line is if you are not a jackbutt then you should not have a problem with law enforcement.  if a jury finds in favor of craigs family then anyone that has ever had a family member killed by a weapon should, in sense, be able to sue the manufacturer of that weapon.

Unassumer

Crushing a person's windpipe (mentally ill or not) would be excessive force I'd say.  People arrested that are drunk or on drugs do tend to get violent but it's not necessary to kill them in the process of subduing them.  Also you can't tell me the local deputies don't know about these people beforehand and should conduct themselves accordingly if they know the people are mentally ill.  It's a small world, after all and information is shared between departments.  I am not trying to put total blame on law enforcement but in some cases, they just may be in the wrong.

Kimo

 

Re:The coroner’s office ruled he died of acute drug intoxication during “drug-induced excited delirium.”

One could then draw the conclusion that the young man the cops shot, died from an overdose of alcohol?

 

huronres1

Bottom line (respond however you want) I HATE COPS!

Truth or Dare

After reading this, please take the time too watch the PBS broadcast by Frontline - "Post Mortum", a 20ll Documentary.  If you're truely looking, it will open your eyes to some scarey BS!

DickTracey

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DGMutley

 "placed on paid administrative leave"

It just hits you right in the face, doesn't it?

jon491
Truth or Dare

Thank you for that jon491!  Not a computer whiz, as I'm sure you've gathered.  God Bless ya!   

DGMutley

"And after reading the article from the coroner's report about  this CRAIG BURDINE having BLUNT FORCED TRAUMA TO THE NECK  "AND"  A CRUSHED TRACHEA  how in GOD'S name is this NOT MURDER ???"<whatsupwiththat

  Well, it is murder. No question.
gilamonster

Another upstanding local LEO. This area must be in competition with Chicago, New York, and New Orleans for having the most dysfunctional officers

SamAdams

Maybe the acute drug intoxication was sufficient to have killed Burdine. But if he'd received timely medical intervention, might that course have been changed? Or maybe he would have survived the intoxication IF HE'D BEEN ABLE TO BREATHE. Guys, he had a CRUSHED TRACHEA. That's not something that's very likely to happen by accident when you're trying to subdue even a violent inmate! And it's certainly an immediately life-threatening injury.

What I don't understand is how a lawsuit could be underway, and a guard under suspicion of having murdered a man is still permitted inmate contact of any kind. I get that you can't assume guilt prior to it being proved, but wouldn't it have been safer for all, including the guard, if he'd been put on some kind of administrative duty? Because he wasn't, he's now allegedly involved in yet another truly appalling incident at the jail. Granted, nobody died this time. But it strikes me as a little more than coincidental that the man accused of making so much trouble before is now accused of making trouble again!

If there are witnesses to the latest allegations (and there are, because the paper has printed quotes from their testimonies), there's no way these guards should be on paid leave. They should all be fired. If they're later found innocent (doesn't sound like they will be, but I suppose it's possible), you can reinstate them. Meanwhile, I have a question:

Are guards in Sandusky County union members? Somebody besides a few relatives has got to be protecting these woeful excuses for men (and their king is Mr. Kaiser), and it sounds  like something a union would unfortunately be perfectly delighted to do.

 

mrmorency

Aren't legitimate news articles supposed to be non-biased? There's definitely a "guilty until proven innocent" tone to this article. As a disclaimer, I'm not condoning or attempting to justify the actions of any of these men. What I'm referring to is the writing style of this article is really distasteful (almost as distasteful as the alledged actions of the accused). But then again, I'm just beating a dead horse here. Anywho.

 

Huronres1/gilamonster... these aren't cops or law enforcement officers... They're corrections officers.

SimpleEnough

I remember when this took place, but I believe some information was not included in this news story.

 The police were called because Burdine had also thrown a person into the fire. That person suffered burns and that was covered  in articles back then by the news-mess.  I also seem to remember that Burdine charged head 1st into the basement wall or side of the house structure where this incident took place. ( I don't believe Burdine was a resident here or was "invited" to this gathering of folks.). He had 2 Felony cases still waiting to be brought to trial from 10/2005 and 10/2006, looks like they combined the two (mind you almost a year apart and they still hadn't gone to trial for the 1st one)  and he had not one, not two, but three evaluations to for competancy to stand trial, with each requested to be performed by the persons other than having done the 1st and then the 2nd evaluations. But they were dismissed because he passed away in 8/2007  NOTE: This was almost 2 years from the 1st date he was arraigned in court on 3 charges F4- Burglary, F3 Having weapons under disability, F5 possesion of crack cocaine.. The other case was an F4- assualt on a police officer. These are public records easily obtained online with the Sandusky County clerk of courts.

 

Sorry for the families loss, but yes there is a pattern here in Sandusky County, These folks abused Drugs & Alcohol........

Where is the report that details the neck and trachea damage?

I'm not going to defend the CO's behavior and conduct for the incident this January.

gilamonster
Oh, so you are saying they are one step above a school crossing guard? I thought law enforcement was a system that encompassed many; whether they have “peace officer” abilities or not.
frizzlefrap

"remember kids ...... DRUGS KILL"!

FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

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DickTracey

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Katelih-Trailer...

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Super Judge

but he is my baby daddy!

FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

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CatsAreTheBest

 FrugalGalSpender why in your right mind would you post these pictures on here.  It shows how low of a person you are.  How would you like it if somone hacked your account and posted pictures of you.  You are such a creep and you disgust me.  This guy is going through enough as it is way to kick him when he is already down.  Why don't you get a job or something so you have something better to do than hack peoples accounts.

FruGalSpender

ya think i p!ssed him off?

Katelih-Trailer...

 Yeah,maybe....But it's better to be pissed OFF than pissed ON........I think ! Lmao

FruGalSpender

typical man. some men. this guy gives men a bad name.

FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

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Super Judge

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FruGalSpender

why no news about this in fremont? must be a coverup. http://www.thenews-messenger.com/

FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

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CatsAreTheBest

FrugalGalSpender  wow I cant believe you are smart enough use google.  Just because he has pictures on the web you do not have to put them on this forum.  Especially without putting the reason why he put the pictures on there.  A man is dead because he was either high or drunk and was attacking the police and the correction officers.  If he would of never of attacked them he would still be alive today.  Can you argue with that fact.  I dont think so.  You know why the News-Mess doesnt put articles like this on there because the Mess isnt a corrupted and crooked organization like the Register.  Why dont you go and flush you pompous ego down the toilet and get a life and a real job instead of the fake one you say you have.

tonto

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FruGalSpender

hey catsarethebest. why no coverage in your fremont newspaper? cover up? bass wipe!

FruGalSpender

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44846GWP

These gaurds get a god like complex and think they can do what ever they want.

FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

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FruGalSpender

cat fight is on!

FruGalSpender

meow!

Katelih-Trailer...

Dang it....They deleted the pics ! It was fun, while it lasted. HeeHee, I can't wait to call someone a Gas Hole....Lmao

huronres1

@catsarethebest = you make me wanna puke!!!!

bullydogs1971

Lets put this whole thing is perspective......so lets take 3 normal guys off the street and they take a stripper, put her in a cage naked and sexually harass her for hours not letting her out for anything.  hum i think any court in the land would give them all 10 years or so and put them on the sex offender list for life.....but these are police officers.....they have a different set of rules.

bullydogs1971

not to mention she was a mentally ill "stripper"

jon491

Every picture you post no matter where ,it does not just stay there. That goes for any site ,also every comment you post goes elsewhere  .  If you don't believe it search your own call signs or name.

You may think you deleted everything ,wrong it's still on the internet.       Google, Bing ,ETC.    Just click on the images button when you get on one .

FruGalSpender

You know why the News-Mess doesnt put articles like this on there because the Mess isnt a corrupted and crooked organization like the Register.   you know catsarethebest, your statement might be true. that full face picture of frank that the sandusky register used came from the exact same bodybuilding internet page that i used used for the pictures. i guess that only the sandusky register is allowed to personally attack people. sorry for my comments, catsarethebest. i wasn't in the best mood yesterday.

tiredofhearingy...

 I take issue with your view of the News Mess. It is one of the most biased, corrupt papers around. If you don't like what they say, you and your remarks are deleted. Why do you think their readership is down? The forums used to be a good place for a good conversation, but because they had no adult control, nor did they have the courage to let other people that didn't share the same beliefs as they did post. If you didn't agree, your comments were deleted and you were banned. Most people read the Register now, however bad it can be sometimes, it is still better than the Mess. I live in Fremont, and will never read it again.

SimpleEnough

 I still read it online for the obits.

KURTje

Hope his lawyer advises him to shave his facial hair before trial.

wiredmama222

to SamAdams:   You have stated this entire thing more accurately than anyone I have read on here. Congratulations for your clear and truly unbiased thinking.  You have hit the nail on the head. 

You truly do have suspicious actions by these men.  I totally agree that a crushed trachea is more than just an accident, it is indeed murder.  Anyone with any medical knowledge knows it takes a pretty good force to crush someone's throat. It is obviousl the cop was angry at that point, and whether the suspect was acting out or not has little to nothing to do with it.  The police are trained to handle this WITHOUT taking excessive force action and they know it.  Someone lost control here.

As for the woman, it is purely sickening behavior by three grown men.  They knew better and yet they went forward.  Why they didn't call the EMS and have her taken to the hospital is beyond my comprehension.  Anyone with half a mind and conscience would have, but again, these three sure didn't show any signs of thought or concern for their prisoner. Just the opposite.

I can't help but wonder why anyone would stand up for these three and defend any of their actions.  They certainly do not deserve it .  They truly don't.  Look at it this way.  What if that was your sister?  Would you want her held naked in a cell filled with water and urine, being oagled by three men for six hours?  I sure wouldn't.  And I would question why they didn't seek help for her? 

It is a shameful thing these guys did.  And it sounds like it isn't a first for Kaiser.  They give good cops a bad name. 

stepham2009

 With the amount of disciplinary actions on this man's work record why was he ABLE to CONTINUE to be EMPLOYED as a corrections officer????? He should've been discharged of his duties a long time ago.......

SimpleEnough

Stepham2009, It is called progressive disciplinary action. That is with most all work rules especially with an union workshop. Most infractions carry a 1 year period aftewr that it falls off and can't be used in progressive discipline along with different work rule violations (correct me if I am wrong) don't typically count against each other.

I still think people need to look at each incident seperate of the other as IMO the Sandusaky Register may be using this to amplify the latest incident. I don't condone the "reported" actions of the CO's for 01/20012, but with all the LEO's and CO's involved in the 2007 incident, it is really hard to cover an illegal act, let's get serios here okay, the guy maybe a complete Arsebag, bit that doesn't mean he didn't do his duty properly back in 2007 with the Burdine incident.  

wiredmama222

to Simple enough:  I don't know if that is the case.  It seems that he may have lost control during the Burdine incident while not meaning to, he could have excessively used force he didn't realize he was using and caused that boys death.  It happens during stressful situations. That doesn't mean he INTENTIONALLY did it, but it could have happened. It is for a jury to decide, not the group of us here or a newspaper article.

As for this incident of 2012, it is clearly a choice of bad judgement and a lack of moral and ethical decision making on the part of THREE  people who should know better and obviously didn't.  If, after at least an hour, they didn't know something was wrong with her, they should have had their heads examined.  Obviously her behaviour was abnormal, but they chose to ignore it. That makes them wrong.  They had options and didn't use them.  (poor judgement). 

Why do you think the paper has chosen to disclose the information?  Circulation: of course.  Now days it is most journalists feelings that the public has the "right to know" what is going on.  In days gone by things like this were kept quiet and dealt with behind closed doors.  The public was mostly unaware. 

I don't which I would rather have, frankly.  But now it is out for everyone to see and discuss.  And for what it is worth, what was done in the past usually is linked to what is happening now and starts forming a pattern.  That is what is showing up for this man.  He did this to himself.  No one did it for him.

man4451

 

   makes me wonder just how many cases go covered up and never see the light of day, across the united states.

Road king

 What the three deputies had done was grossly  and unjustly wrong and perverted, to place trust in these people.

steals the confidence of all citizens,  but these three deputies are not the only ones to blame!  The Sandusky County Sheriff Department also has a Sheriff, a Chief Deputy and a Major as a jail administrator.

Respect starts at the top and filters down respect is earned not just expected and given. If there is no respect for the higher rank how can the lower rank respect the citizens of the county and do a job that's demanding of them and trust.  The chief deputy is retired and re-hired  such the double dipping saga. The Sheriff is young with no real leadership or experience who is more interested in the garden and chickens. I'm sure this does save money for the county but I feel his losing the aspect of being  the top law enforcement  officer of the county. When was the last time anyone read a article on crime solving , major drug bust or just indictments made from grand jury, it's been a long  long time.   again what the three deputies had done is a black eye to all of us but I feel that there is much more to blame within the department

 

 

 

 

 

enforcement 

DickTracey

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Just a Girl

I usually read the headlines to my husband, but in the case of this story, I was so shocked and sickened that I couldn't find the words. And I didn't want to repeat most of them. To me, sexual abuse, no matter who the victim is or what the circumstances, is the most disgusting act anyone can commit. How do three people with no code of honor or moral code find themselves in the same workplace, on the same shift? I don't care what the prisoner was doing, you do the right thing, and give her some dignity regardless of whether she is aware of her behavior or not.