New Video Shows Minnesota Corrections Officer Kneeing And Punching Handcuffed Black Man In Jail

New Video Shows Minnesota Corrections Officer Kneeing And Punching Handcuffed Black Man In Jail

Travis Ray Vandewiele resigned after the footage showed him brutally beating Terrell James Johnson.

Published February 27, 2019

In the case of a 2016 physical assault of a Minnesota inmate at the hands of correctional officer, new video has been released showing the extent of the abuse.

According to Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, former deputy Travis Ray Vandewiele pleaded guilty over a year ago to a disorderly conduct charge in connection to his physical treatment of Terrell James Johnson at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in April 2016.

Last week, Vandewiele, 46, submitted his resignation after three years of employment, the sheriff said.

In a statement Monday, Fletcher said he has left the department.

"The events captured on video from three years ago are extremely disturbing to me and other members of the Ramsey County Sheriff's Department," the statement read in part, as reported by KTSP.

The statement also said the actions portrayed in the video are not indicative of the way officers are expected to behave.

"The video also demonstrated failed supervision and poor training. The supervisor present and all employees witnessing these actions had a duty to intervene to stop the assaultive tactics and the use of excessive force. The conduct captured on the video will not be tolerated under my watch. Misconduct will be investigated expeditiously and if personnel are found at fault, discipline will be swift and thorough. There is no excuse for mistreatment of anyone under my administration."

After Vandewiele pleaded guilty to the disorderly conduct charge in January 2018, he was sentenced to one year of probation.

According to the criminal complaint, Vandewiele was working as a deputy at the detention center where Johnson was brought in. It took officers 10 minutes to get Johnson into the squad car and he was sprayed with a chemical agent before he was brought to the jail, the complaint read.

Vandewiele then approached the squad car, where Johnson reportedly spat at Vandewiele's leg. Johnson, who was handcuffed, was then told to get out of the squad car. He began to get out when he fell to the ground.

Vandewiele and another deputy grabbed him by each arm and lifted him up before he went limp and fell to the ground again.

Vandewiele put Johnson in a transport chair. The deputy then began pushing on Johnson's right jaw before using his left knee to strike him twice in the abdomen, which can be seen in the video.

Johnson told Vandewiele not to hit him and said something about being choked.

Vandewiele began pushing hard on Johnson's jaw and neck area and continued pushing on his head as he tried to stand. When Johnson accused Vandewiele of using excessive force, the deputy responded, "You ain't seen excessive force yet."

Vandewiele is said to have then struck him four times in the abdomen and chest area with a fist, which can be seen in the video. Johnson reportedly pleaded for his life while he was bent over at the waist.

In his statement Monday, Fletcher said steps have been taken to prevent excessive use of force by deputies.

"Since taking office on January 7th, 2019, I have reviewed the training protocols and policies of the Sheriff's Department and appointed a new Detention Superintendent with professional corrections experience," the statement concluded. "Last month we added additional supervision to the jail and assigned different personnel to be responsible for training in the Detention Division in order to ensure an improved focus on jail practices. The jail sergeant present during the 2016 incident left the Sheriff's Department in March of 2017."

Written by BET Staff

(Photo: Ramsey County Sheriff's Office)


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