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Statement on the Death of Freddie Tackett
at the Cuyahoga County Jail


Statement made: October, 24, 2023:


Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition is sad to announce the death of Freddie Tackett, who died under suspicious circumstances in what county officials have said was a “medical incident” while in the custody of the Cuyahoga County Jail on October 6, 2023. Media coverage of the death has largely neglected to mention that Tackett had been exonerated—meaning completely cleared of charges—and he was set to be released just days before his death.  Why he was still incarcerated is unclear.  

Tacket was 47: a beloved father, grandfather, uncle, great uncle, brother-in-law, and cherished friend to many. He leaves behind a fiance, five children, and three grandchildren. He loved spending time with his family, fishing, hunting, four wheeling, and music. 


Tackett’s official cause of death has not been released, but there may be reason to suspect foul play. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has written only that “The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is collaborating with the Cleveland Division of Police and the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s office on investigating the matter.”  While the Jail Coalition does not have the resources to substantiate these allegations ourselves, we take the possibility very seriously.  Therefore, we are calling for an independent investigation into the situation to clarify what actually happened to Freddie Tackett


Allegedly, there is surveillance camera footage of the possible incident that led to the death of Freddie Tackett, but the Sheriff's department has not released the footage. The Sheriff’s department has also not acknowledged publicly why the Division of Police is now involved in investigating the death of a person who was reported to have died of a supposed “medical incident.” The possible circumstances–and silence–regarding this most recent death are deeply alarming. 


We call on local media to report this death and all deaths in the jail as serious incidents and to investigate any suspicions surrounding these deaths. We need the media too more than act as stenographers for the county sheriff’s department as the death toll over the last five years nears 30 people. It is not enough to simply print the press release of the Sheriff’s office and let that be “the news.” 


There are profound abuses of human rights continuing at the Cuyahoga County jail that are beyond the capabilities of groups like ours to properly investigate. The media must do their jobs and hold the county’s problems to the light.  Journalists should be demanding explanations for every one of these incidents when they are announced instead of giving the jail administration weeks and months to craft explanations that conveniently leave themselves blameless. The time to report is now, in the days and weeks after a beloved community member’s death. 

Tackett’s death is the fourth death within the jail in the last three months, including Elving Lopez, Nathan Myers, and a yet unnamed community member on the weekend of August 19-20. Last year, five community members died while incarcerated at our jail. These deaths make 27 people who have died at the Cuyahoga County Jail since 2018. Every one of those people was part of our community, a loved one.

We in the community of care within Cuyahoga County should be outraged and demand more change. We must continue to fight for lives and against atrocities associated with the County Jail. We must advocate for the rights of all who suffer due to the circumstances surrounding the County Jail. We can not continue to separate the jail from the criminal justice system and policing as they are all connected. When we transform the criminal justice system, we will drastically reduce the jail population. We must hold local officials accountable for policy choices that continue to induce harm. We must focus on building a more just future within our community that centers care over cages.

We must mourn the loss of Freddie Tackett  and we continue the fight to stop the inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail. 

 Cuyahoga County 

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