A Tennessee sheriff downplayed the brutal beating his deputy gave a handcuff Black man on Dec. 3 and claimed that the man faked his injuries, which include a collapsed lung.
The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office said on Thursday that its medical staff examined 24-year-old Charles Toney after his arrest but found none of the injuries that his attorney Lee Merritt alleges, based on medical reports from Chattanooga’s Parkridge Hospital, KSTP-TV reported.
Toney suffered no injuries other than “swelling in mouth, jaw or neck,” according to the jail’s medical intake form. And those injuries were “within normal limits,” the form noted, considering Detective Black Kilpatrick struck Toney because he was uncooperative during the arrest.
But a video from a bystander tells a different story. After handcuffing Toney, Kilpatrick pounded him on the ground. In addition to a collapsed lung, Merritt said his client also suffered fractured ribs, nose and finger.
Toney had a warrant out for his arrest for drugs and weapons-related charges. Kilpatrick and another officer spotted him outside a house in Chattanooga.
Toney was arrested and Times Free Press reports, “While he was handcuffed, Kilpatrick said, Toney kept trying to reach into his pockets despite being told to stop, according to the arrest report. Kilpatrick then took Toney to the ground. Officers then stood Toney back up after he said he couldn’t breathe.”
Merritt said the jail’s medical staff did an inadequate job.
“The reason why their nurse would not have been able to observe any injuries from Mr. Toney other than the bruises and contusions to his face is because she doesn’t have X-ray vision and she didn’t perform any X-ray,” the attorney told WRCB-TV. “He repeatedly said that his breathing was labored and that he was in a great deal of pain and that he wanted to be treated. The nurse said you’re fine and gave him some ibuprofen.”
Toney was released within hours of his arrest after posting bond and went to the hospital the next day, the attorney said.
Merritt has called for Kilpatrick’s arrest for the assault of his client and the officer’s record of violence. Kilpatrick is currently on desk duty while the U.S. Justice Department investigates the incident.