ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. — Three Tennessee deputies seen on video repeatedly using a stun gun on a man in custody have been put on leave pending an investigation.
Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove initially told news outlets that it appeared deputies had followed correct procedures. But in a recent statement, he said that after reviewing the entire video, he decided to put them on leave and ask the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to investigate.
“As Sheriff, I want our citizens to know that any inappropriate behavior that may have violated an individual’s rights will not be tolerated,” Breedlove said in the statement. “We will work closely and cooperatively with the TBI and District Attorney’s Office to ensure all facts are provided and all angles of this incident are thoroughly investigated.”
News outlets report that the man seen in the video has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the deputies of excessive force. Justin Norris, 19, claims he was stunned more than 40 times.
The sheriff’s office did not respond to repeated telephone calls and voicemail messages Tuesday.
The lawsuit accuses deputies of depriving Norris of his civil rights while in custody after he was arrested Nov. 3.
According to three use-of-force reports filed by deputies on Nov. 5, Norris was stunned multiple times for being combative and for resisting efforts to be cuffed. The lawsuit focuses on the time when Norris was stunned while restrained.
It says the repeated stunning of Norris while he “was restrained and suffering a mental health episode was objectively unreasonable, unnecessary, excessive, and without a legitimate law enforcement purpose.”
On the video, one deputy can be heard telling Norris, “I’ll keep doing that until I run out of batteries.”