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Press Release

Former Erie County Deputy Sheriff Pleads Guilty to Using Excessive Force

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

TOLEDO – Today, Adam Bess, 35, pleaded guilty to a felony for depriving an inmate at the Erie County Jail of her constitutional rights by using excessive force. According to court documents, on November 1, 2021, Bess was working as a sergeant at the Erie County Jail. During the booking process of a new arrestee, Bess repeatedly choked her causing her vision to pixelate and have lasting bruising. The inmate can be heard yelling, “He’s about to kill me, he’s about to kill me” during the assault.

Bess faces up to ten years imprisonment and it will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any, and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

A sentencing date has not yet been set before United States District Judge Jack Zouhary.

This case was investigated by the FBI Cleveland Division and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Freeman and Tracey Tangeman.


Thomas Weldon

(216) 622-3651

Updated May 5, 2023

Civil Rights