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Teen sues deputies for alleged excessive force by stun gun, cites over 40 burns
He was also restrained and gagged.
A Tennessee teenager has filed suit against three Cheatham County deputies for shocking him with a stun gun multiple times in just over a minute. The deputies, using the stun gun on the teen’s chest and inches from his heart, had strapped the teen down to the chair, according to the suit, while one of them gagged his mouth shut with a rag.
CCTV footage from the Tennessee jail and the cameras attached to the stun gun captured the deputies’ actions, which 18-year-old Jordan Norris’ lawyers say was excessive force “without legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
However, court documents show that additional burns covering Norris’ body (potentially 40 by his father’s count) indicate there were likely more instances of this kind of force, according to the Washington Post.
Video from the Cheatham County Police Department shows Deputy Sheriff Mark Bryant holding a stun gun to Norris, and saying, “I’ll keep on doing that until I run out of batteries,” in between jolts. Deputies Josh Marriott and Jeff Key also took part in the act by holding Norris down and telling him to stop resisting, though another person can be seen and heard in the background of the footage.
Norris had been arrested on Nov. 3 for drug and weapons possession and suffered a “mental health episode” two days later while in jail. He banged his head on a door and was placed on suicide watch, during which a nurse was called for his attention, and he was physically restrained as deputies shocked him.
Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove posted about Norris’ arrest on the official Cheatham County Sheriff’s Facebook page, writing on Nov. 3 that the teen “was going to kill any Deputy who tried to arrest him. He was armed with stolen weapons. A drug dealer by trade and on the fast track to live the Thug life.”
“The team, armed with a search warrant, invited themselves into the ‘House of Norris’ on Little Pond Creek with such dynamic quickness, he became shocked with awe and peed a little bit. Great job Cheatham SWAT!” the post read. The page has since been hidden or deleted entirely.
Breedlove then told CBS affiliate WTVF that Norris had become combative, and that the deputies acted accordingly. However, in a statement made two days later, on July 28, Breedlove said he didn’t see all of the footage at the time he was briefed, and that he’s asked for a reevaluation of the department’s use-of-force policy and an independent evaluation.
“As sheriff, I want our citizens to know that any inappropriate behavior that may have violated an individual’s rights will not be tolerated,” Breedlove said in the statement. “We will work closely and cooperatively with the TBI [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] and district attorney’s office to ensure all facts are provided and all angles of this incident are thoroughly investigated.”
Norris’ suit seeks punitive damages and alleges that others failed to protect his rights.
“The repeated and prolonged use of a Taser against a fully restrained person amounts to torture; the videos speak for themselves,” Benjamin Raybin, one of Norris’s two lawyers, told the Post.
H/T Boing Boing
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.