CINCINNATI — A former Hamilton County corrections officer was sentenced Tuesday to 42 months in federal prison for shoving a frail 61-year-old man headfirst into a concrete half-wall in a jail holding cell, then refusing to help his bloody victim who moaned for help.
In January, Jason Mize pleaded guilty to Deprivation of Rights Under the Color of Law for the August 2016 "assault."
Sheriff's Office records show Mize's victim was diagnosed with head wounds and a broken leg after the incident. Then-Sheriff Jim Neil's criminal investigators determined Mize committed a crime and referred the case to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office, but county prosecutors declined to present the case to a grand jury.
Neil insisted he planned to terminate Mize, who was still employed for months following the incident. Mize resigned after the WCPO 9 I-Team launched an investigation of use-of-force in the Hamilton County Justice Center and began asking questions about Mize.
The I-Team first reported on the incident in May 2017. The investigation revealed Mize's history of using "unreasonable" and "excessive" force to get control of inmates in the jail. Sheriff's Office records requested and obtained by the I-Team showed Mize had been cited for at least four use-of-force violations in incidents over a decade as a corrections officer.
A week later, Mize's victim filed a civil lawsuit against Mize, Neil, and Hamilton County Commissioners in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. Hamilton County paid the victim a $500,000 settlement.
Prosecutors said they uncovered evidence that for years there was an unwritten "one-punch rule" for corrections officers working in the Hamilton County jail. That alleged unofficial rule meant that corrections officers were allowed one punch to get an inmate under control without facing possible discipline for unnecessary force.
Neil denied having that unwritten rule in the jail.
On Tuesday, prosecutors said Mize's victim died from a medical condition unrelated to injuries he received from hitting the concrete wall in the cell. They said the victim's sister told investigators Mize had never apologized directly to the victim or his family.
RELATED: Former Hamilton County corrections officer agrees to plead guilty in 2016 excessive force incident
RELATED: I-Team: What happens when guards use excessive force at the Hamilton County Justice Center?