Back in April, a 19-year-old then-inmate was pepper sprayed, punched and physically assaulted by a now-fired Louisville Metro Corrections officer, while hand-cuffed and seated in his jail cell. Now, the body-cam footage has been released to the public.
According to Wave 3 News, the incident occurred on April 15th, as Terry Whitehead tried to explain the reason his cell windows were covered with toilet paper during a routine security check.
“Whitehead, what are you doing, man?” the unidentified officer wearing the body camera said, “I ain’t never had a problem out of you. Why you gotta spit on us? Sergeants come around. You know how this is.”
Shortly after Whitehead explained he was trying to use the bathroom, officer David Schwartz delivers a blow to the inmate’s head, and then slams the cell door against the wall.
The incident immediately led to the firing of Schwartz, 47, who was a probationary officer at the time, as well as a second officer, Devan Edwards, 21, for his failure to report the incident. But now, upon the release of the video, Whitehead has filed a lawsuit against the now-fired officers, accusing the two of excessive force, assault and battery.
According to legal docs obtained by Courier Journal, Whitehead said he was pepper sprayed, handcuffed and badly beaten, over his privacy. In the docs, Whitehead said Edwards had previously given him permission to put paper over the opening in his cell for privacy when using the bathroom. But, when Schwartz ordered him to take the paper down, Whitehead said he was unable to reach the paper as he was still using the restroom. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
From there, the incident escalated into a verbal argument and “minor scuffle,” which prompted the officer to use pepper spray and handcuff him. According to the suit, Whitehead was then beaten, moved to another location and beaten again, leaving him with contusions and swelling.
In the suit, Whitehead said he even blacked out because of the assault, and was taken to a local hospital a week later.
As for the officers, the two were fired nine days later after officials reviewed the body cam footage.
“What I saw on that video is disturbing and is not reflective of what we expect from our staff,” Corrections Director Mark Bolton said of the incident. The incident is under investigation.