Jail corrections officer is caught on camera kicking inmate in the face.
A lawsuit has been filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court after video footage showed Hamilton County Jail inmate Courtney Walters was restrained by three corrections officers (and a fourth standing over her) when corrections April Jones kicked her in the face. The incident occurred back in August 2019.
One of the staff members told investigators corrections officer “Jones kicked Walters soccer-style in the face,” according to the complaint filed by Walters’ attorney Robert Newman, which adds, “Afterwards, Jones could be seen laughing…” After the injury, Newman reported his client “suffered a laceration to her face and continued to experience pain and headaches.” Although other officers were involved, Jones is the only defendant named in the suit. It is unclear whether the jail took any corrective action against her.
An internal affairs report reads, in part, “Walters was out of her cell for an allowed one-hour period when she began arguing with another inmate. Two corrections officers eventually went up to Walters and tried to force her back inside her cell, but she refused and resisted, leading to a struggle. A call went out for assistance, and two other corrections officers eventually responded. It wasn’t until the fourth arrived that the officers were able to pull Walters to the floor. Three then held Walters down and tried to handcuff her…The fourth corrections officer, Jamelia Durham, told investigators that she believed things were under control.” However, “April Jones ran into the pod and kicked her in the face. Walters was lying flat on her stomach and was not wrestling or moving around. Jones told a superior that she did not mean to kick Walters.”
The footage, according to the plaintiff’s attorney, is most telling. The lawsuit contends, “Jones used excessive force, in violation of the Constitution’s Fourth and 14th Amendments. Walters, 23, has been held at the jail since April 2019 on a murder charge. She is accused of luring a man into a car before another man fatally shot him.”
This isn’t the first time Hamilton County has had issues with excessive force. In July, Sgt. Jesse Franklin was charged with assault after video footage revealed he also kicked an inmate in the head. Prosecutor Joe Deters submitted, “Nick Ballachino was arrested for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and obstructing official business and transported to the Justice Center. When deputies and Ballachino arrived, he became combative with the officers trying to process him. While the officers were trying to subdue him, Ballachino bit Franklin’s left foot.” Deters said the video shows Franklin responding to the bite by kicking Ballachino.
“Not everyone has the temperament to be a police officer. In this case, and as I have throughout my career, when I see criminal violations, I will pursue them according to the law,” Deters said, adding, “Maintaining a professional, 21st century police force is expensive to society, but pays for itself many times over. Actions like this are a harsh reminder that resources must be dedicated to recruiting the right kind of officers and ensuring that they have the proper equipment, knowledge, training and temperament to do the job that citizens want and expect.”