Isabella County Jail administrator charged with assaulting inmate

Former officer Sargent Christopher Cluley faces up to five years in prison

An Isabella County Sheriff police cruiser sits parked outside the Isabella County Jail at 207 Court St.

An Isabella County Jail corrections officer is going to trial on multiple charges after he was accused of assaulting an inmate two years ago. A trial date has not yet been determined.

Sargent Christopher Cluley was charged last October with two counts of misconduct in office - both five year felonies - and one count of aggravated assault - a one year misdemeanor, resulting in up to five years in prison if convicted.

Cluley was working as an administrator in charge of the jail in April 2020 when the incident occurred during an inmate’s cell transfer after the inmate had a verbal altercation with another corrections officer.

Video evidence shows Cluley standing outside the cell with the inmate when he forcibly grabbed the inmate and spun him around and then “pushed him into the cell door before then pushing him into the wall next to the cell door," according to a press release by the state of Michigan Attorney General’s office.

Cluley then walked the inmate to his new cell. As they arrived, video evidence shows Cluley pushing the inmate to the ground of the cell. The inmate fell to the floor and cried out in pain.

The inmate was examined after the altercation and after receiving an x-ray was concluded to have suffered from a fractured left knee. 

Isabella County Sheriff Michael Mains said he was made aware of the incident on April 12, 2020.

Cluley was then placed on administrative leave and the Isabella County Sheriff Department conducted an internal investigation.

Isabella County Sheriff Michael Mains said that once the investigation was completed, it was discovered that several policy violations occurred revealing the “egregious behavior and systematic failure” of the employee in performing their duty which led to their termination.

“The Isabella County Sheriff’s officer certainly does not condone any such actions by any of its employees," Mains said. “I, like all law enforcement, take any behavior that falls outside of the allowable and acceptable practices very seriously for anyone who performs these very critical functions in our society.”

The department then contacted the Michigan State Police who completed its own investigation before referring the case to the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit. 

“This case was the result of our public integrity team scrutinizing Mr. Cluley’s conduct to ensure the oath to protect and serve was not neglected,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “We look forward to moving to trial.”