Lawsuit over jail beating may expand

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A lawsuit against Allegheny County and current and former jail officials may expand, if a federal judge grants an attorney's request to add new defendants based on recently discovered evidence.

Attorney Ronald D. Barber, representing former jail inmate Gary W. Barbour, today filed a request to amend a complaint, along with documents from an FBI investigation of the jail. Mr. Barber wants to add former jail Deputy Warden Lance Bohn and former internal affairs Captain Thomas Leicht to a list of defendants that already includes former Major of the Guards James Donis, who has been sentenced to five years probation for filing a false report on the beating of Barbour.

Mr. Barber filed the report of an FBI interview with Mr. Bohn dated Aug. 5, 2011, when he was still deputy warden. It said that Mr. Bohn saw Donie punch Barbour in the face while the inmate was handcuffed, describing it as "the hardest Bohn had ever seen one individual hit another individual." Donis continued throwing punches while Barbour was on the floor, according to the interview transcript.

When Donis later brought Mr. Bohn a draft of his report on the incident, Mr. Bohn "used a pen and drew a box around the portion [in which Donis] described ... hitting Barbour." Mr. Bohn said that portion of the report was "a problem," and Donis took it out.

Mr. Bohn now works as an associate professor at Community College of Allegheny County. He could not be reached for immediate comment.

A county spokeswoman declined comment.

Donis pleaded guilty to falsification of a document. At Donis' sentencing hearing last week, at which he was ordered to live at the Renewal Inc. community correctional facility for eight months of his probation, his defense attorney said that Mr. Bohn approved of leaving the beating out of the incident report.

Barbour was caught trying to escape from the jail, but there is no indication that he resisted when captured.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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