WATCH: Sheriff’s Video Shows Bloody Use-of-Force Incident Against Inmate

Arizona – The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday released footage and reports that detail a use-of-force incident that culminated in an inmate being shocked by a stun gun while lying in his own blood.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has declined to file charges against the detention employees involved, though two received internal discipline, reports state.

The incident took place days before Sheriff Paul Penzone was sworn into office last year.

Penzone said the incident demonstrated the importance of having a Special Response Team in county jails.

The team, which was reintroduced in March under Penzone, is specifically trained to handle dangerous inmate situations inside the county’s jails.

The initial Special Response Team was cut by his predecessor, Joe Arpaio, months earlier, as a way to shoulder costs in a long-running racial-profiling lawsuit.

The incident began in the late-night hours of Dec. 30, 2016. Detention officers were to move inmate Pedro Ramos to a different cell in the Fourth Avenue Jail in downtown Phoenix, after he was caught with “Hooch,” a moonshine of sorts, according to records from the MCSO.

Ramos resisted the officers’ control while en route, and was placed in a belly restraint before getting to his new cell, records say.

Ramos entered the cell with his handcuffs and belly belt still secured, but refused to come to the trap door and allow officers to remove them, records state.

The inmate repeatedly yelled for officers to “leave me alone and go away.”

Upon Ramos’ refusal, Sgt. Ian Laborde ordered officers to enter the cell and force Ramos to the trap door to remove the restraints. Ramos again yelled for officers to leave him alone, and asked for 20 minutes to calm down, records state.

The officers persisted, though, prompting Ramos to strike Officer Elian Griego in the face with his cuffed hands, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.

Ramos eventually was led to the front of the cell. There, his belly belt was removed and his hands were forcefully fed through the trap door to remove the cuffs. But something cut Ramos’ wrist during this move, causing a deep cut “at or near his artery,” the record says.

Ramos, now uncuffed and badly bleeding, retreated to his cell to lie down. Due to the amount of blood he was losing, detention employees called the Phoenix Fire Department and spent the next nine minutes trying to get him to again accept handcuffs and receive medical attention, the report states.

Ramos repeatedly refused. He can be seen on the video lying on the floor, smearing his blood on the wall.

About this time, Laborde came up with a plan: “They would open up the door and tase the inmate and pull him out,” the records state.

As the door opened, Ramos is seen on the floor in a pool of blood, arms splayed out to either side. Upon his sergeant’s orders, Officer Cody Lane deployed the Taser, which is designed to briefly incapacitate a suspect with an electrical charge from a safe distance.

Ramos was then dragged out by other officers, leaving a thick trail of blood behind.

Ramos didn’t resist this time, but soon thereafter became agitated at the sight of the Taser, records state. In the video, the Taser can be heard deploying a second charge to the inmate again, which also is stated in the records.

This force, records state, had “no effect on the inmate, as only one Taser probe made contact with the inmate when the Taser was originally deployed.”

Ramos was then placed on a gurney and was sent to the hospital. He returned to jail once the treatment was completed, the records state.

Ramos filed a grievance the following day, alleging excessive force. One of the officers on the scene lodged a complaint about Sgt. Laborde.

“Sgt. Laborde’s actions were not tactical, nor professional, and caused numerous injuries to officers and the inmate involved,” Officer Christopher White wrote.

A criminal investigation into Laborde and Lane was forwarded to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to review for aggravated-assault charges. County Attorney’s Office officials declined to pursue the case on March 16, citing “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.”

An internal investigation resulted in a written reprimand for Lane and an eight-hour suspension for Laborde.

In a statement, MCSO officials said Ramos had an “extensive history” of dangerous behaviors, and had previously been incarcerated by Arizona’s Department of Corrections. On the date of the incident, the statement said, detention staff found 10 bottles of jail-made alcohol, nine of which were empty.

Penzone told The Arizona Republic that the Special Response Team was funded by savings incurred by closing Tent City jail. He said he hopes the team will not only mitigate dangerous situations, but save the county from costly lawsuits.

“The dynamics in the jail are unique and can be very challenging,” Penzone told The Republic on Thursday. “By implementing the Special Response Team, my goal is to have a specialized unit that, when time permits, can respond and mitigate escalating threats.”

The team currently has 12 members. Penzone said in addition to responding to the events, they will be tasked with developing best practices and working with detention officers.

Source: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2018/01/11/sheriffs-video-shows-bloody-use-force-incident-against-inmate/1025724001/

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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