The death of an inmate in the East Cleveland City Jail remains under investigation

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio - A 42-year-old East Cleveland prisoner identified as Sterlyn Ezell was found hanging in is jail cell Wednesday, November 21, 30 minutes after he had been placed in there by East Cleveland Police.

Saturday, his family was still in search of answers and the details that lead up to his death. They, along with East Cleveland City Councilmen, held a press conference at East Cleveland's City Hall Saturday night.

The family, city leaders and many community members want to know what happened and why it all transpired the way it did. Other community members were told that when Ezell's mother called the East Cleveland Jail to check on her son, she was allegedly told to call the morgue.

NewsChannel 5 did speak with the coroner's office who confirmed there were no visable, exterior signs that Ezell had been beaten and his death had been ruled a suicide by hanging. However, many still unanswered questions brought the family members and city leaders together Saturday.

"I couldn't say why this was to happen. I just want answers, " Ezell's mother said.

Through NewsChannel 5's own investigation, it was discovered that Ezell does have an extensive criminal past, but it is unclear as to why he was in custody of East Cleveland Police Wednesday night.

The East Cleveland Police Chief Ralph Spotts spoke with NewsChannel 5 later Saturday night in response to the press conference and said, " I spoke to one of the council members yesterday. I spoke to another one who was out of town and didn't know what happened and they didn't advise me at all about any press conference, they didn't advise me that they wanted to talk about it, but this is just how things go in East Cleveland."

Spotts said Ezell was put in custody after assaulting a woman. Spotts said Ezell was intoxicated when he was  brought into the jail and spit on an officer before police placed him in the jail and left him, only to return to find Ezell dead.

Spotts defended his Police Department saying everything was done by proper procedure. He also told NewsChannel5 Ezell's actions leading to his death were recorded on security footage. 

Internal Affairs is now handling this investigation.


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