3 guards facing charges after police say they assaulted an inmate

After a Clearfield County Jail inmate failed to obey orders, the response from the guards prompted a police investigation.

Cpl. Adam Gibson, of state police at Clearfield, wrote in his affidavit that he was called to the jail by Warden Greg Collins on June 15 to investigate a reported assault.

Jail staff told Gibson that the incident occurred June 7 when inmate Larry Tobias was refusing to comply with a direction.

The guards then decided to take Tobias off the cell block, and Collins said they called others in for an escort.

According to witnesses and surveillance video, the guards were called to take the inmate from the D-block to the jail’s booking area. That was where things allegedly went wrong.

Gibson said in an affidavit of probable cause filed Nov. 17 that, over the course of his investigation, he discovered that three of the corrections officers “forcefully cuffed Tobias, bent him forward at the waist and quickly rushed him from the block, striking his head/shoulder off of the doorway.”

It didn’t stop there.

Gibson’s affidavit said Brian Showalter, 31, Jason Troxell, 39, and William McGroarty, 59, “continued to slam Tobias’ head into doorways and the walls as they escorted him.”

Tobias received a laceration to the top of his head and a bruised left eye. His cheek, nose and upper lip were swollen, and there was a cut inside his lip. Gibson said he was treated in the facility’s infirmary, but “continues to complain of headaches.”

Showalter, Troxell and McGroarty were charged with misdemeanor counts of obstructing administration of law, official oppression, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and criminal attempted simple assault, as well as summary harassment.

The three were not arrested or asked to post bail. They were served summonses and scheduled for preliminary hearings on Jan. 10.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce