Sgt. Mark Thevenin, who has spent more than two decades employed by the county with the sheriff's department and at the county jail, was disciplined after failing to review and report on two excessive use of force cases involving Cpl. Brendan Johnson. That discipline involved a written reprimand and removal from the county jail's special response team. The news was first reported by Clevleand.com.
Johnson was fired earlier this year after two incidents that occurred in three days in May
in which he pepper sprayed female inmates without provocation. In one incident, Johnson swept the legs from beneath a female inmate. In the other, after deploying pepper foam to an inmates face, he reportedly told her, "I told you I'd get you." Johnson had previously been suspended three days in 2015 after video caught him "taking hold of an inmate by his shirt, pulling him from his chair, and dragging him across the floor out of view of camera."
Both of the 2016 incidents were captured on video. Sgt. Thevenin failed to view the videos, as is mandated by jail policy and procedures when knowledge of use of force exists. In pre-disciplinary hearings, Thevenin said that while he was aware of what happened, he believed Johnson's explanations of the events in question and further, that he was too busy on those shifts to review the video. Thevenin also failed to compile the proper reports on the incidents involving Johnson. In an interview with investigators in late May, Thevenin said he believed he could defend Johnson's actions in one but not both of the incidents.
Thevenin was promoted from corporal to sergeant in May of 2014.
Also of note: The month after Johnson's 2015 suspension, Thevenin gave Johnson a glowing review.
Associate county jail warden Eric Ivey, meanwhile, has also given Thevenin above average reviews in past years, while noting last year that the Sgt. should complete courses in leadership in critical situations and moral leadership and development.
County corrections officers and the special response team have had its fair share of incidents outside of Johnson in recent years.
In January 2015, an inmate alleged that he was assaulted by six special response team officers in his cell
And in March 2015, a corrections supervisor was indicted on five counts including assault on an inmate
. In that case, Madeline Chappell allegedly punched a woman in the face, pepper sprayed her and poured water on her, all while the inmate was handcuffed to a chair.
Thevenin is also co-owner of Trident Safety, Security, and Defense, LLC
, which offers training in concealed carry, advanced weapons, self defense and more. His bio on the site reads:
"Mark Thevenin is our self-defense/hand-to-hand combat instructor.
"Mark currently serves as a Corporal on the Cuyahoga County Jail's Special Response Team (SRT). He is also a Certified Defensive Tactics Instructor for the State of Ohio. Mark has 20 years of experience and is a Training Academy Instructor for all new cadets. He has 35 years of martial arts experience, earned a black belt in Kenpo Karate and Jujitsu, and has training in Hapkido as well as numerous other forms of martial arts.
"Throughout his career, Mark has had multiple force-on-force encounters with violent offenders, which has educated him on what is practical and not practical in a self-defense situation. Mark brings his extensive training and real world experience to our classes and provides practical responses to our students' questions."