As a jail guard, Kelton Townsend ran the Cocke County jail in Tennessee with a steel hand, taking no lip from inmates.
But now he is an inmate in the same jail after a video surfaced showing him grab a handcuffed man by the throat and throwing him to the floor, leaving him with eight broken ribs and a punctured lung.
The man, Jerry Miller, 60, had called him a “fat ass” after arriving in the jail in handcuffs stemming from a domestic disturbance in which he was accused of ripping a phone out of a wall during an argument with a woman.
Miller also told Townsend not to grab his wallet as he was being searched, which made Townsend snap as you can see after the 1:15 minute mark in the above video.
“You don’t get my wallet,” Miller says as he was being frisked.
“Yeah, I get your wallet,” Townsend responds.
“No, you don’t,” Miller responds.
Townsend then grabbed him by the neck and slammed him to the ground.
“You don’t try to stop me from doing shit!” Townsend yells.
The incident was captured on the body cam of Newport police officer Joshyua Shults, who had arrested Miller and transported him to the jail on a charge of interfering with emergency calls.
Just over 30 seconds after the body slam as Miller lay on the floor moaning in pain, Shults turns off his body camera.
But the video that does exist shows Miller was not doing anything to physically stop Townsend from doing his job. It was probably the fat ass comment that triggered Townsend.
The incident took place on February 21 but Townsend was not arrested until last week after a grand jury indicted him on charges of aggravated assault and official oppression. He is no longer employed at the jail but it is not clear at this time if he was fired or if he quit.
Miller has filed a $5 million lawsuit.