An 18-year-old in the middle of a mental health episode was restrained in a chair by three Cheatham County deputies and tasered repeatedly inches from his heart, as shown in surveillance video taken at a Tennessee jail. Jordan Norris is now suing the deputies for excessive force “without legitimate law enforcement purpose,” seeking punitive damages.
“The repeated and prolonged use of a Taser against a fully restrained person amounts to torture; the videos speak for themselves,” Benjamin Raybin, a lawyer for Norris, told The Washington Post.
Norris was in the county jail after being arrested November 3 on drug and weapon possessions. The arrest was celebrated by Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove in a Facebook post which read:
Let it be known he was going to kill any Deputy who tried to arrest him. He was armed with stolen weapons. A drug dealer by trade and on the fast track to live the Thug life. The team, armed with a search warrant, invited themselves into the ‘House of Norris’ on Little Pond Creek with such dynamic quickness, he became shocked with awe and peed a little bit. Great job Cheatham SWAT!
Two days after his arrest, Norris began suffering from a mental health episode, banging his head on his cell door. He was placed on suicide watch, and his arms, chest, waist and legs were restrained so that a nurse could attend to him. It was at this point that deputies Mark Bryant, Josh Marriott, and Jeff Key applied “pressure to his face and neck to cause pain” and began using the stun gun on Norris.
Via the Post:
“Are you ready?” Bryant asked Norris, who seemingly braced for the inevitable surge of voltage. He appeared to ask for water.
“Would you like to comply?” Bryant asked. Norris’s response was inaudible.
“No you won’t,” Bryant said as his stun gun surged into Norris, who grimaced and groaned.
“Stop resisting!” one of the deputies yelled at Norris, who was strapped into restraints.
“You don’t like it, do you?” a deputy asked.
In video of the incident, Bryant can be seen tasering Norris four times for a cumulative 50 seconds. Generally, a taser “ride” should not exceed five seconds. Deaths have been reported for rides lasting 10 seconds. At one point in the video, Bryant tells Norris “I’ll keep on doing that until I run out of batteries.”
Norris’ stepfather William Chapman told a local CBS affiliate that he counted forty burn marks on his son’s body.
The deputies involved have been placed on paid leave. An investigation is ongoing.