MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Ramsey County correctional officer says he plans to resign after a video shows him attacking an inmate.
We do want to warn you that, at times, the video hard to watch.
The resignation of deputy Travis Vandewiele comes two years after inmate Terrell Johnson complained the officer used excessive force while restraining him.
Reg Chapman spoke with city and county officials who say change is needed and happening inside the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office.
“Let me breathe, please let me breathe,” Johnson can be heard saying in the video.
“You can either step out or I’ll drag you out. That’s your option,” said the deputy.
Johnson’s ordeal began April 13, 2016 after an arrest by St. Paul police.
Johnson was pepper sprayed and taken to the Ramsey County Jail.
The 13-minute interaction between Johnson and sheriff’s deputies was caught on camera.
With his hands cuffed behind his back and a spit guard mask on his face, Johnson was pushed by one deputy and then pulled by another as they try to strap him into a transport chair.
Vandewiele can be seen kneeing Johnson in his stomach.
“You ain’t seen excessive force yet,” Vandewiele said.
The video shows the 24-year-old begging for his life.
“Please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me. I’m sorry, “ Johnson said.
You can also hear him crying out in pain as deputies push his head into his lap.
Members of the African American Leadership Council, and the St. Paul NAACP stood in solidarity with current Ramsey County sheriff and undersheriff to denounce the treatment of Johnson by deputies.
“What happened to Terrell Johnson is a tragedy and no human being should be treated in that manner,“ said Tyrone Terrell.
Mayor Melvin Carter says deputies showed failures in abuse of force, training, culture and accountability.
“Seeing the punches, seeing those kicks, seeing that treatment, the torture. If we saw video like that coming from any other part of the world we would call it torture,“ Carter said.
Vandewiele was charged by the Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office with two counts of fifth-degree assault, a misdemeanor.
As part of a plea agreement Vandewiele pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $150 fine.
Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher says there have been — and will be more — changes, including additional training and the hiring of more supervisors.
When Vandewiele resigns with no discipline on Feb. 28, he will be given almost $10,000 in vacation and sick time.
For the two years he was on paid administrative leave, Vandewiele collected more than $120,000 in salary.
The community is upset it took almost three years to learn and see what happened to Johnson at the hand of Ramsey County sheriff’s deputies.