Surveillance footage of Matthew Ajibade’s January arrest has been released, showing the moments before he was found dead while strapped to a restraint chair in Savannah, Georgia.
Jurors watched the footage on Wednesday during day two of the trial against two former Chatham County Jail workers and a healthcare worker, according to WTOC. Former officers Jason Kenny, Maxine Evans, and contract healthcare worker Gregory Brown are facing involuntarily manslaughter charges. Kenny is also charged with aggravated assault and cruelty to an inmate. Evans and Brown are both charged with falsifying police records, and Brown faces an additional charge of making a false statement.
The 21-year-old college student was taken into police custody following a domestic violence incident on New Year’s Day. Officers arrested Ajibade, who had bipolar disorder. His girlfriend reportedly informed officers of his diagnosis and gave them a bottle of his medicine.
After arrival at the Chatham County Jail, footage shows Ajibade talking to an officer. Backup is called and three deputies restrain Aijbade. He is then Tased four times by Kenny and kicked by another officer after he grabbed the arm of Debra Johnson, a former CCSO lieutenant.
“They were trying to get him to calm down, and comply,” Johnson said. “He was not complying. I responded to the area, and I asked for the taser. One of the officers handed me the taser, and I placed the taser to his (Ajibade) thigh, and instructed him further to calm down and allow the officers to secure him in hand restraints.”
Lt. Johnson was the watch supervisor the night Ajibade died.
The state ended the videos with the angle that shows the time that elapsed between checks on Ajibade by the deputies, which is significant because of discrepancies in the logs that brought about charges relating to falsifying public records.
Johnson said the officers’ actions were supported by jail police and the victim’s erratic behavior. During trial, the officers told prosecutors they mistakenly filled out the police form, failing to mention Ajibade “could be mental.”
Officers Paul Folsome, Frederick Burke, Eric Vinson, Burt Ambrose, Andrew Evans-Martinez, Christopher Reed, and Abram Burns were also fired following the arrest.
A medical examiner informed jurors factors such as the fight with officers, the stun gun, and the restraint chair he was found in, all culminated in Ajibade’s death. A Chatham County coroner said Ajibade had blunt injuries to his head and upper body and had blood inside his skull case, the New York Daily News reports.
Ajibade’s family is being represented by former CNN legal analyst Mike O’Mara, who previously represented George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin trial.
Jurors will continue to look at more evidence this week, focusing on the amount of times Ajibade was checked on by the officers before he died.
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