Handcuffed teen knocked unconscious during booking, arrest report says
JSO: Juvenile arrested on several charges just before 2014 incident at jail
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A teenager was arrested on a charges of resisting an officer without violence and loitering and prowling just before he was knocked unconscious while being processed into the Duval County jail, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office arrest report obtained by News4Jax.
DeAndre Jamal Ezell was 17 years old at the time of the Nov. 21, 2014 incident, which was brought up by Public Defender Matt Shirk during a debate Wednesday with State Attorney Angela Corey.
They were discussing the recent beating of a woman being booked into jail when Shirk produced a federal lawsuit filed in January, 16 months after Ezell claimed his head was slammed into the concrete wall by an officer while he was handcuffed, knocking him unconscious.
After Wednesday's debate, Shirk provided video of the incident to News4Jax.
The video, which was recorded by a surveillance camera in the jail, shows Ezell in a chair. He jumps up after being asked a question and knocks over items on a cabinet. The officer then grabs him and smashes him into the wall.
The officer "went to gain control of the suspect by pushing him into a corner and then to the ground," according to the arrest report.
The video shows that while Ezell is unconscious, other corrections officers restrain him even more. The report said Ezell was revived by a sternum rub and that's when he "became super combative by kicking at the correctional officers, thrashing around and attempting to spit blood from his mouth at them."
A corrections officer was kicked about three times between his knee and ankle by Ezell during the struggle, the report said. The officer was not injured.
Later, a nurse and then Jacksonville Fire Rescue showed up and Ezell was taken to UF Health Jacksonville for treatment.
The report said JFRD was called because of "the suspect's extreme strength, endurance and the potential of a medical emergency."
After he recovered, Ezell, who was originally arrested on charges of loitering and prowling and resisting an officer without violence, was charged with simple battery on a law enforcement officer. His lawyer said Ezell never struck an officer, and that charge was later dropped.
The lawsuit that Shirk released says neither of the officers involved faced any discipline.
"I would like to know why her office continues to protect Jacksonville corrections Officer David Stevens ... who brutally attacked a handcuffed juvenile, our client DeAndre Ezell, and why the State Attorney's Office, having seen the video which depicts an outrageous attack (on) this defenseless African-American juvenile," Shirk said. "Why they continue to refused to seek justice and charge the corrections officer with his blatant attack."
State Attorney fires back after debate
Confronted with the case during the debate at the Southside Businessmen's Club, Corey said she couldn't know details of every case that came through her office.
"That might be the most pandering political statement I heard anyone get up and do at a debate," Corey responded. "Did you bring the case so I can review it?" Corey said. "We have 10,000 cases in our office. Did you bring the file for me to review? Because I don't give answers on my cases or any other prosecutor's cases until I read everything in the files, reviewed it with my prosecutors and I know the facts of the case. So you got that question from one of your lawyers and you didn't bother to tell me, 'Please be prepared and have an answer for that case?'"
Corey said Shirk never requested that her office review the video.
The lawsuit, which cites nine other incidents in which a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office employee used excessive force against a person in custody, is asking for damages, attorney's fees and costs for depriving Ezell of his rights under the Fourth and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Wednesday night, Corey and Assistant State Attorney Rich Mantei fired back by questioning why Shirk waited 16 months to file.
Corey said there were rules at the forum and Shirk broke them. She said all questions were supposed to be vetted and she believes Shirk was working with one her opponents in the race for State Attorney, Wes White, who knew all about the video.
"I think that Mr. Shirk's political stunt today is deplorable," Corey said.
Mantei added the video also leaves out vital information about the teen's actions.
"They had to sedate him. They had to place them in a spit mask, among other things that went on that day. In part, they suspected that he might be intoxicated," Mantei said.
Mantei, who's assigned to handle integrity cases where an officer's actions would be reviewed for criminal behavior, said he thought the video was never submitted to the State Attorney's Office for review. He and Corey told News4Jax that they do not feel a criminal act was committed by the officer, but they do feel Shirk tried committing a "political stunt."
"The dirty politics have to stop. It's got to stop in every race. And again, I answer to the people of this community but I can only answer to them when I am armed with the facts and the law," Corey said.
Shirk released a statement Wednesday night to News4Jax in response to what Corey said at the press conference:
"That Ms. Corey can watch this video and see no crime is outrageous. It is she who should be ashamed of herself. That she routinely refuses to do the right thing in favor of substituting her own personal definition of justice is truly appalling. And if Ms. Corey was actually interested in being a responsible public servant she would indeed meet with me when I request meetings, as I routinely do and am completely ignored by her. For her to suggest that me reaching out to her is the "proper channel" is laughable. Ms. Corey is the one who refuses to meet with me. Even when Nassau County Administrative Judge Robert Foster asked her to do so in a meeting with among others Clay County Administrative Don Lester and Fourth Circuit Chief Judge Mark Mahon, Ms. Corey stated "I will not meet with Mr. Shirk." Unlike Ms. Corey colluding with attorney Kenny Leigh to close her primary to the African-American population of the Fourth Circuit, my concern for a battered African-American youth isn't political. It's about right versus wrong. It's about real justice. Not Angela Corey's definition of what she thinks it should be."
Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lauri-Ellen Smith also issued a statement after the case was discussed at Wednesday's forum:
"We have been made aware of an arrest video from November of 2014 that was released today by Public Defender Matt Shirk, during a political debate.
We further understand it includes footage of a juvenile arrestee being subdued by corrections personnel in our booking area.
The video was obtained by the Public Defender’s Office through a routine public records request, with its intended purpose to be used as part of the negotiations with the State Attorney’s Office.
This case is currently being litigated civilly, which limits our ability to comment. At this time we will not confirm the identity of the arrestee.
Until such time as this case is resolved in the courts we cannot comment any further."
Copyright 2016 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.