Prison Board Addresses Resident’s Complaint Against Jail CO

CLEARFIELD – An issue that has topped the agenda of the Clearfield County Prison Board for months was finally resolved during Tuesday’s meeting.

During the public comment periods of the meetings the board heard from Jan Gaikwad, who alleged she had been kicked in the face by a female corrections officer when being booked at the Clearfield County Jail. Gaikwad has been asking the board for disciplinary actions against the CO.

The board gave her several options. In addition to the prison board’s personnel committee reviewing the incident and documentation, it was suggested she contact local police, which she did, and also file a private criminal complaint through the District Attorney’s office.

During public comment Tuesday, Gaikwad again asked to speak. President Judge Fredric Ammerman, chairman, stated that because she had been taping meetings that she would first be asked to go outside the room with sheriff deputies to ensure she did not have recording equipment in her pockets. She turned over her phone to them.

It was later learned by the media that she has recorded meetings with individuals as well and posted clips on Facebook.

Gaikwad’s comments were only that she thanked the commissioners for creating five new corrections officer positions and also that she wanted to apologize to Commissioner Tony Scotto for her actions at a recent meeting and said she has not been feeling well.

Scotto was not at the meeting and the commissioners said they would pass on the apology and Gaikwad also indicated she would write a letter.

Later in the meeting, the prison board held a 30-minute executive session for personnel.

When the executive session concluded, Ammerman began by stating that the personnel committee had reviewed the documentation including police reports, information provided by CCJ and also by Gaikwad, which included medical information, and the video of the incident. Also, all members of the prison board viewed the video numerous times.

Commissioners John Sobel and David Glass also confirmed that Gaikwad had been permitted to view the video herself after a Right to Know request, but the commissioners did not give her a copy due to security concerns.

“We do not believe what she said occurred actually occurred,” Ammerman concluded.

The board members present then voted to deny any actions with Controller Tom Adamson making the motion and Glass seconding the motion. Those voting in favor included Adamson, Glass, Sobel, Ammerman and Sheriff Michael Churner.

District Attorney Ryan Sayers was also absent but he sent a letter to the members of the prison board explaining that his absence was due to attending the federal court in Johnstown. His letter also stated his views on the matter:

“In regards to the complaint of Ms. Gaikwad, as you are already aware, I did not approve her private criminal complaint after review of the documents she provided to the Magisterial District Judge and after watching the video from the jail.

“Additionally, after reviewing the jail’s use of force policy in conjunction with what I saw in the video, I do not believe that any of the COs violated that policy.”

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