There are several points of contention surrounding an April incident in which an Ohio sheriff's deputy forced inmates locked down in his jail's special disciplinary area to dance for his amusement.
Let's analyze them now.
- The Reason for the Dance
Deputy Dominic Martucci told investigators he invited inmates to dance to "lighten the tension" in the secluded disciplinary area in which they were locked up. He may have anticipated the spontaneous dancing would develop into something a bit like this, though, obviously that requires more careful planning.
Several inmates reported they were made to dance in order to regain the use of a microwave, which Martucci had unplugged and removed earlier in the day. One man said he danced to earn phone privileges.
- The Tone of the Moment
One deputy reported that inmates laughed, ho ho ho, how they laughed as they were made to dance for the amusement of prison guards.
One inmate stated that he agreed to perform the robot so that he could use the phone to contact relatives after a family member's death, which is incredibly heartbreaking, and, if true, renders the possibility that the halls rang out in laughter less likely.
- Acceptable Choreography
In addition to the aforementioned robot, inmates also reportedly performed "the worm," a modified "bump and grind" (Martucci claims none of the dancing involved touching), classic "old school" moves, and general free dance.
One inmate told investigators that, unlike the other prisoners who participated, he was not rewarded for his dancing. When he confronted Martucci with this issue, the deputy allegedly responded "You messed up. You'll be going to the hole."
- The Duration of the Dance
Some deputies who witnessed the incident told investigators the dancing only lasted for a few seconds. A few seconds is really not enough time to perform a well-executed worm or robot, so that statement is probably a lie.
Some inmates reported that the dancing went on for "at least several minutes."
Usher's 2004 single "Yeah!" the only song mentioned in the report, lasts for 4 minutes and 10 seconds.
- The Date of the Dance
According to the report, various inmates and deputies said the incident took place on either April 10th or 11th. Sort of weird that no one was able to nail that down. The allegations of abuse were detailed in an inmate's memo sent to a sergeant a few days after the event.
- The Deputy's Record
Officially, there are "no blemishes," in Martucci's disciplinary file, which, according to the Associated Press, is expunged every 12 months under the deputies' collective bargaining agreement.
It is, however, interesting to note that, in 2007, Martucci was one of five deputies charged in the death of an inmate they were trying to restrain in the jail's psychiatric ward. After one deputy was acquitted of murder, charges against Martucci and the three other deputies were dropped.
In any event, Martucci has since been fired because it is a violation of department policy to have a cellphone (which he used to play the music) in the jail.
It is also a violation of department policy to force inmates to dance for your amusement.
Live and learn.