Tennessee – Former Cocke County corrections officer Kelton Townsend plead not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and official oppression after video showed him slamming a handcuffed inmate.
According to the lawsuit, the inmate, Jerry Miller, suffered eight broken ribs and a punctured lung after Townsend grabbed him by the neck and slammed him to the ground.
Townsend was charged a few days after Miller filed a lawsuit. In addition to the injuries, the lawsuit also claims Miller was denied adequate medical care until the next morning after he was released on his own recognizance and processed out of the jail. Miller is asking for $5 million plus additional damages.
After the arresting officer’s body camera footage was discovered, an attorney representing Cocke County emailed Miller’s attorney claiming the video shows “Cocke County’s correctional officer throwing Miller to the floor even though Mr. Miller appears to be only verbally resisting the officer’s instructions.”
Miller had been arrested after a domestic disturbance call. According to the arrest warrant, Miller’s girlfriend told an officer that he pulled wires out of the phone while she was trying to call 911 about the disturbance. She said there was never any physical contact, but Miller was taken to jail on a charge of interfering with a 911 call.
Townsend made his first appearance in a Cocke County courtroom on the criminal charges on Monday, where he pleaded not guilty.