On April 29, 2013 in Washington County, Tennesee, Police Strapped Stewart Peppers into a Restraint Chair and, while Restrained, 6 Cops Beat and Tasered Him to Death! He would have been 23 this month.
by Melissa Hipolit, Reporter
WASHINGTON COUNTY, TN (WJHL) — The parents of a former Washington County, Tennessee inmate who died on April 29th are suing the county, Sheriff Ed Graybeal, and six corrections officers for more than $20 million, alleging their son died as a result of injuries sustained during a beating inside the jail.
The lawsuit was filed July 6th in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee in Greeneville.
It was filed by attorneys for Joe and Natasha Peppers, who are the parents of Stewart Peppers.
Peppers died while in the Washington County Detention Center in April.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege Peppers began shouting obscenities at jail personnel while in his cell on April 29th.
The lawsuit states that six corrections officers entered the cell and began to beat Peppers.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege the corrections officers than strapped Peppers to a restraint chair and struck him repeatedly in the face while also using chemical spray and electrical tasers.
CLICK to read wrongful death complaint: Peppers vs. Washington_Co_Sheriff’s Office
The lawsuit states that after the beating, the defendants laid Peppers on the floor and began to perform CPR.
The plaintiffs believe a video recording of the incident was captured by the jail’s surveillance system, and it is now in the hands of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs believe Peppers rights as a pretrial detainee were violated when the defendants used excessive force against him.
The plaintiffs are asking for $20 million in compensatory damages, and an additional one million dollars for loss consortium.
The TBI is currently investigating what led up to Peppers death, as well as the death of another former inmate, Charles Frederick Young III, who died in the same week.
[…and in another report:]
by Kristen Swing, Executive Editor
Washington County Sheriff Ed Graybeal and a handful of corrections officers at the Washington County Detention Center are adamantly denying allegations that an inmate was beaten to death inside the jail in April.
The parents of Stewart Peppers, who died on April 29 while incarcerated at the jail, filed a $20 million lawsuit in federal court against the sheriff and his jailers in July. The suit claims Peppers died because of injuries he sustained in an alleged 20-minute beating by corrections officers at the jail.
Peppers had been in the jail for three days, incarcerated on charges including aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon and the manufacture of a controlled substance.
All parties agree that Peppers was being housed alone, in a single cell on April 29 when he became incensed and began shouting obscenities at jail personnel on duty that day.
Peppers’ parents say their son endured an initial beating when officers entered his cell, then strapped him to a restraint chair and again beat him even though he was unable to move.
They also claim chemical sprays and a Taser were used on the 22-year-old.
In an answer to the complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court on Aug. 9, the defendants admit to using both a Taser and chemical spray on Peppers, but deny any beating took place.
“…the defendants used the amount of force that was reasonably necessary to try and control an extremely strong and manic individual who posed a severe threat to the officers, to himself and to the security of the WCDC,” states the court document filed by Jeffrey Ward, attorney for Sheriff Ed Graybeal and the six corrections officers named in the suit.
According to the filing, the officers entered Peppers’ cell in an “attempt to maintain discipline and to prevent him from causing further injury to himself.”
Officers said they used both a Taser and chemical spray on Peppers, but neither tool was successful at controlling the inmate.
Peppers’ parents allege the officers laid their unresponsive son on the jail cell floor at the conclusion of the alleged beating and began to perform CPR, but could not revive him. At that time, they claim, a nurse was called for help.
In response, corrections officers say nursing staff was actually contacted to assess Peppers after the Taser was deployed and while Peppers was still resisting the restraints.
“However, because of Mr. Peppers’ violent behavior, the nurse initially could not safely approach Mr. Peppers to assess him,” the document states. “When Mr. Peppers suddenly stopped resisting, he was assessed and it was determined that he had stopped breathing and did not have a pulse. CPR was started and EMS was called immediately.”
Peppers was transported by ambulance to an area hospital where he died a short time later.
The WCSO issued a press release about Peppers’ death on the same day he died.
In the press release, Graybeal said no foul play was suspected in Peppers’ death, but the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation was called in to investigate, as is agency policy in such cases. The TBI’s investigation is ongoing and authorities are still awaiting the results of an autopsy.
Stewart Pepper When Alive:
Kern Co: More brutality cut from same warp & weave in David Silva’s death:
BAKERSFIELD, CA — Kern County deputies beat an intoxicated man to death in the street Tuesday night, then detained and intimidated witnesses, confiscated video evidence, and arrested another man who spoke out. David Silva was beaten with batons, left in a pool of blood until an ambulance finally arrived after he was already dead.
A female 9-1-1 caller named Selena told the dispatcher, “There’s a man laying on the floor, and your police officers beat the (expletive) out of him and killed him.” She said that she witnessed the victim do nothing wrong to cause 8 officers to bludgeon him to death. “These cops had no reason to do this to this man.”
A 19-year-old male witness, Ruben Ceballos, was awakened around midnight by screams and loud banging noises outside his home. He said he ran to the left side of his house to find out who was causing the ruckus.”When I got outside I saw two officers beating a man with batons and they were hitting his head so every time they would swing, I could hear the blows to his head.” He said that Silva was on the ground screaming for help, but officers continued to beat him After several minutes, Silva stopped screaming and was no longer responsive, according to Ceballos.
Another witness, Jason Land, said that he witnessed the beating of David Silva. “They jumped out, reached for their bats, and beat that man until they killed him,” he said, “right in front of my face.” Land spoke up about what he saw and was arrested as retaliation. The witness was on probation and says police responded to his eyewitness report by claiming he was high on PCP and arrested him without any proof.
Witnesses also say that the victim’s body was left to bleed out in the street for a prolonged period without any medical attention, wasting crucial minutes before the ambulance arrived. By that point, it was too late and CPR attempts were futile.
Other witnesses, including Melissa Quair, were harassed and told that they must surrender their cell phones as “evidence.” Their houses were even searched as a crime scene in order to confiscate the video evidence.
The victim’s brother, Christopher Silva, says his brother was murdered and wants justice. He is demanding that his brother’s body be released so that he can see the result of the beating. He wants the confiscated videos to be released. “My brother spent the last eight minutes of his life pleading, begging for his life. The true evidence is in those phone witnesses that apparently the sheriff deputies already took. But I know the truth will come out and my brother’s voice will be heard.”