Graphic video obtained by NBC News shows sheriff’s deputies tasing a mentally ill Georgia man in the groin while he was restrained in a chair.
Two Georgia sheriff's deputies and a health care worker are currently being tried for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of 22-year-old Matthew Ajibade, who died after being taken into police custody on New Year’s Day.
A Chatham County grand jury also charged Jason Kenny, the deputy who used the taser, with aggravated assault and cruelty to an inmate. Defendants Cpl. Maxine Evans and Gregory Brown, a nurse at the Chatham County jail, were also charged with reckless conduct for failing to monitor Ajibade’s status.
Ajibade, 22, was handcuffed to a restraint chair in an isolation cell after he allegedly hit his girlfriend and broke a deputy's nose while in the midst of what his family described as a bipolar episode. Officers also placed a spit mask over his mouth. He was found dead in the chair, still wearing the spit mask, in the early morning hours of January 2.
Nine deputies who were on duty were fired in May, including Kenny and Evans. In June, the coroner ruled Ajibade's death a homicide, citing abrasions, scrapes and bumps on his upper body and head.
The minute-long video, which was shown in court Friday, comes from a camera attached to the taser. It shows Ajibade in the restraint chair, and a red dot on his thigh and groin area where the taser is pointed. The red dot stops in the groin area as the camera comes closer to Ajibade. He is heard screaming after the discharge of the stun gun against his flesh.
Though voices can be heard throughout the tape, the audio is too distorted to make out any words or identify the speakers.
Prosecutors say the tape shows that Ajibade was restrained and was not offering physical resistance when he was tased. Kenny says that Ajibade was struggling when he was tased.
Kenny’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mark O’Mara, best known for his successful defense of Georgia Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin, is representing the Ajibade family, which is weighing a civil suit. Mara called the video “disgusting and vile.”
“It is nothing less than torture,” said O’Mara. “It’s sadism.”