Pubdate: Tue, 23 Feb 2016
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2016 Dayton Daily News
Author: Earl Rinehart


Prosecutors dismissed the first of what could be many more drug cases 
tossed because they involved a police detective accused of selling 
seized drugs who hanged himself in jail early Monday.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said his office was auditing 
the cases in which Reynoldsburg Officer Tye L. Downard participated 
as a Reynoldsburg officer or as a member of the county's drug task 
force from 2013 until now. So far, investigators have found 50 cases, 
O'Brien said.

"I expect other cases to be dismissed, but I can't say how many," O'Brien said.

The case dismissed was scheduled for trial in Franklin County Common 
Pleas Court on Monday. O'Brien said he believed his office could not 
go forward with a case that could have involved a law officer 
tampering with evidence. The defendant pleaded guilty in another drug 
case unrelated to the charge arising from the search warrant in which 
Downard was involved, the prosecutor said.

Downard, 43, of Westerville, was found by Delaware County jail 
deputies in his cell about 1:30 a.m. during a routine hourly check. 
He was not on the jail's suicide watch list. Jail personnel tried to 
revive Downard but were unsuccessful, sheriff's office spokeswoman 
Tracy Whited said.

"I firmly believe the fully staffed jail did their jobs, including 
proper monitoring, inmate checks, rendering medical and first-aid," 
Delaware County Sheriff Russell L. Martin said.

Downard, who had worked for years with the Franklin County drug task 
force, was arrested Thursday on federal charges accusing him of using 
his connections to deal drugs, including drugs that might have been 
seized by his police division. Downard allegedly carried out more 
than 20 drug deliveries since October, involving heroin, cocaine, 
marijuana and Percocet pills, federal prosecutors said.

He was charged in U.S. District Court in Columbus with possession 
with intent to distribute and distribution of controlled substances. 
The charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

"It's tragic, tragic for his family and the community," Downard's 
attorney, Sam Shamansky, said.

A second jail prisoner, Rhianna Michelle Filichia, also died 
overnight in the jail. Martin said Filichia had previous medical 
issues. Autopsies will be done in both deaths, the sheriff said.
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