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5 Officers Allegedly Prodded Prison Fight

March 19, 2002

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5 Officers Allegedly Prodded Prison Fight

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Five officers at the Toledo Correctional Institution were charged yesterday with promoting a fight between two inmates, the Ohio Highway Patrol and prison officials said.

The officers are accused of encouraging two prisoners to fight in a recreation cell Feb. 27. Prison officials placed the employees on paid administrative leave Feb. 28, Warden Assistant Caroline Haack said.

Misdemeanor charges were filed in Toledo Municipal Court. Cole D. Tipton, 25, and Lynn McCoy, 46, both of Toledo, and Wesley Mong, 26, of Northwood, were charged with dereliction of duty. If convicted, they could be sentenced to 90 days in jail.

Aaron Griswold, 37, of Toledo, and Darren Beining, 23, of Fort Jennings, Ohio, allegedly put the inmates in the cell. They are charged with inciting violence and dereliction of duty. They face a possible nine-month jail sentence.

The officers received summons to appear in court March 27.

Ms. Haack said prison officials learned about the alleged incident from inmates Feb. 28 and began investigating. She said the highway patrol was notified March 1.

The fight occurred in a section used to house prisoners who are segregated from the rest of the inmate population for disciplinary reasons. "The guards were alleged to have taken the two inmates and put them in the cell to have them fight it out," said Staff Lt. Robert Dunn.

The prison in North Toledo near the Greenbelt Parkway opened in July, 2000. It has 742 inmates.

Ms. Haack would not release the names of the inmates involved in the fight. She said one was convicted of attempted rape, and the other was in prison for burglary.

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