Kevin Bailey’s heartbroken sister speaks out about his death from injuries sustained at the Scioto County Jail.
Bailey, 56, of Portsmouth died at a Columbus hospital from injuries sustained during an incident at the Scioto County Jail on May 26. He was arrested by Portsmouth Police on a charge of aggravated menacing in the early morning hours of May 24. Bailey was booked into the Scioto County Jail.
His sister, Karen Skaggs, of Wheelersburg spoke to us exclusively.
Skaggs said the first thing she heard of his arrest was a phone on May 27 telling her the hospital needed family members to make medical decisions for him.
“I found out that he had a severe brain injury. His skull was fractured wide open in a couple places. He had multiple brain bleeds. He had six broken ribs, a fractured rib, and a black eye.”
At first, Skaggs said she thought he must have been attacked by inmates. She said no one at the jail would tell her what happened. They only said that the incident was under investigation.
Ran Into A Door?
After she raised a fuss on Facebook, the Sheriff’s Office issued a statement claiming that Bailey was injured after a scuffle with guards when he hit his head on an open door.
Skaggs says, “I have been told differently. I have been told that he was picked up and power drove into a concrete floor several times. Then into a door and then kicked after he was already unconscious. He never came to. There was somebody that seen them taking him from the infirmary in a wheelchair. They couldn’t even keep him in the wheelchair because he was lifeless. He had blood all over his face.”
Karen Skaggs said she had to make the painful decision to remove her brother from life support. Doctors told her he would never be the same. “The last words that I told him was that I loved him very much. That I would fight to find out who did this to him. And now that is my number one job; to find out who killed my brother. They need to be brought to justice.”
Just like if I went on the street and killed somebody. I would be charged with murder. They were in a jail and something happened. Somebody killed him.”
A Small Man With A Big Mouth
Skaggs said her brother was a tall, thin man who barely weighted 140 pounds. She admits he had a loud mouth that often got him into trouble. “I’m afraid that he smarted off to a guard. Maybe they lost their temper with them. I understand getting mad. But that does not give you the right to taken a human being’s life.
Kevin struggled with drug addiction for many years. In spite of his troubles, Karen says he was always kind. “My brother was loved by so many people. It hurts me so bad to know what happened to him. I need to know answers besides he hit his head on the door.”
Karen said she’s spoken to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and they are investigating the incident.
She said she’s reached out to the jail several times but no one had called her back.
A Sweet Guy
“Kevin he was a very sweet guy. He would help anybody. He would help people before he would help himself. Kevin was kind and sweet. I loved him. I miss my brother.”
She held up a childhood picture of Kevin and said, “That’s the brother they took away from me. That’s the brother they murdered. I can’t get anybody to answer me. All I want is justice for Kevin. That’s all I want. I want to find out who did this. They need to be brought to justice before they do it to someone else.”
Skaggs said the siblings just lost their mother last year. “I have so much anger in me. I pray to God to take the anger away. Kevin wouldn’t want me to have so much anger in my heart. I think they think Kevin was just a street bum and a drug user.”
We’re Gonna Keep Fighting
This angry sister said anyone who thinks this story is just going to go away has another thing coming. “I hate to tell them, but he has family. And we’re not just going to go away. We’re gonna keep fighting.”
Karen is anxious to find out if there is video of the incident. “It’s just not right. I don’t care if they have a badge on or not.”
She said the local organization behind Portsmouth’s peaceful police brutality protest reached out to her. She’s hoping to have a march in honor of her brother around the jail. “Justice for Kevin. That’s all I want, justice for him. I want him to be able to look down and say ‘My sister is going to take care of it.’ One thing I want people to know about my brother is that even if he was a drug addict, he was still a good person.”
Her message to county officials is simple. “This needs to be investigated.”