A Manatee County corrections officer has been fired following an internal affairs investigation into an excessive force incident.
The incident came to light after a supervisor reviewed the footage from the incident.
Mantatee County Sheriff Rick Wells identified the former deputy as 21-year-old Tyler Lemond, who was investigated after video from March 29, 2019 captured him repeatedly kneeing, striking, punching and foot stomping inmate Jorge Ajanel, who only speaks Spanish.
Ajanel was arrested March 26 for trespassing and failure to appear in court on a misdemeanor charge and he been placed in the medical pod in order to “detox,” according to ABC7.
Video shows LeMond rush into the cell and shove Ajanel onto his back shortly after telling him to get away from the padded cell door, which was covered with a curtain.
“In the following 42 second struggle that ensued, Deputy LeMond struck [the inmate] with eight knee strikes, a closed fist punch and a foot stomp,” a report from the sheriff’s office reads.
The sheriff’s office says after LeMond and another deputy handcuff Ajanel, Lemond kneed the inmate eight times stomped him and punched him.
It wasn’t Ajanel who filed a complaint.
Supervisors began comparing the video of the incident to a report filed by LeMond and began an investigation on April 4.
The sheriff’s department issued the following discrepancies:
LeMond wrote the inmate “grabbed onto my arm and attempted to pull me towards him. I used my open hands to palm checked (sic) [inmate] in the chest to create distance between he and I for officer safety.” But investigators say they found the footage shows LeMond entering and immediately shoving the inmate, writing, “no attempts to de-escalate or allow [the inmate] to comply are observed.
Later in the report, LeMond wrote, “he continued to resist my efforts by swinging his arms violently well (sic) thrashing his body around.” But investigators say that is clearly contrary to the video, “which depicts [the inmate] lying on his left side facing away from Deputy LeMond and against the wall, as one hand is held by Deputy LeMond and the other is outstretched in front of [the inmate] on the floor.”
LeMond also wrote he used “multiple discretionary knee strikes….in an attempt to gain compliance,” but investigators say the force of the strikes caused the inmate’s head to hit the cell wall, adding, “the knee strikes appear to be fashioned towards pain infliction, rather than as a distraction tactic as noted in his report.”
Investigators questioned why LeMond decided a need for use of force existed, since Ajanel was 48-years-old, 5’4” tall, weighed around 160 pounds and had a “practically nonexistent” chance of having a weapon.
Upon intake, jailers initially determined Ajanel was a fall risk.
“There is no place for this type of behavior in law enforcement,” Sheriff Wells said after watching the video.
“It will not be tolerated at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.”
LeMond, who joined the corrections staff in March 2017, was fired on April 24.