County reaches $375K settlement with pepper-sprayed inmate

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County reaches $375K settlement with pepper-sprayed inmate

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Amber Swink is shown in 2015 at the Montgomery County jail. Up to four agencies are investigating the pepper spraying of Swink in a seven-point restraint chair by then Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Judith Sealey, court documents confirmed.

UPDATED@3:19 p.m.:

The settlement in the Amber Swink civil lawsuit against Montgomery County was settled for $375,000, according to Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr.

EARLIER:

A woman who was pepper sprayed by a corrections officer while strapped into a restraint chair at the Montgomery County jail has settled her lawsuit against the county, according to federal court records.

Amber Swink, 25, filed suit in September 2016 alleging civil rights violations, violations of departmental policy and claiming an attempted cover-up because video of the incident disappeared from county records.

Swink’s attorney, Douglas Brannon, confirmed that the federal civil rights lawsuit was settled Wednesday after a private mediation. Brannon said there was monetary settlement but that he is bound by a confidentiality agreement from saying more.

“I can officially tell you that it’s an amicable agreement, Brannon said. “I can tell you that Amber is happy to be moving forward with her life at this point.”

Brannon said Swink is currently finishing the MonDay drug treatment program.

Swink was pepper-sprayed by Judith Sealey in November 2015. Sealey was then a sergeant in the jail but was later promoted to captain. The lawsuit claims the promotion was political.

After the incident went public, Sealey was suspended pending an assault investigation but returned to duty when the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office declined to bring charges.

But court documents show that the incident led jail personnel to be investigated by U.S. Dept. of Justice’s civil rights division, the U.S. Attorneys’ Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dayton police department. Some of those probes are ongoing.

Swink was in jail for assaulting a police officer. She was ordered to rehab in April after failing to comply with the terms of her sentence.

This news outlet has reached out to Montgomery County officials for comment, and this story will be updated with that information.

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