A disturbing video was released Monday by the Pike County prosecutor and sheriff’s office that may lead to criminal prosecution of a deputy.
Former deputy Jeremy Mooney has resigned and his supervisor demoted after a prisoner in their custody was beaten and pepper-sprayed while being restrained.
Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk said, “it’s disturbing to watch.”
Junk said prisoner Thomas Friend was arrested for a misdemeanor and was being transported to the holding cell before his court appearance.
Junk said Friend was in a restraint chair because he was impaired, combative and had been hitting and spitting on deputies. Reports show Friend had also tried to bite another deputy.
“The sheriff's office indicated a combination of bath salts and methamphetamine. When Mr. Friend was brought to court after this he wasn’t able to be seen by the judge due to the mental state he was in,” said Junk.
The incident occurred on November 18 at the Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Surveillance video from the incident shows Friend confined in a restraint chair in the parking lot near a sheriff’s van. The video shows a Mooney using a fogger to pepper spray Friend and the chair tipped back and the prisoner stayed on the ground for eleven minutes.
Friend was wheeled inside the building where video shows Mooney punched him in the face eleven times. Friend was later taken to an area hospital for treatment and then to jail.
Mooney did not answer the door of his home when reporter Lu Ann Stoia knocked.
The prosecutor said Mooney is trying to get Workers’ Compensation for a broken hand following the incident.
Interim Sheriff James said, “I am not happy. It was An excessive use of force which had no business of happening.” Nelson said his department is undergoing additional training to make sure no other incidents like this occur.
Sgt. Bill Stansbury, the supervisor who witnessed the pepper spraying has been demoted from the rank of sergeant to corporal and was suspended for two weeks. “He is a supervisor. He was present, did nothing to stop it or diffuse the situation, said Nelson.
Sheriff Nelson said he believes Friend should face criminal charges for the incident.
An FBI spokesperson would not comment on federal involvement in the case. “As a matter of policy, the FBI cannot confirm or deny the existence of a potential investigation,” said Todd Lindgren.
Asked why Mooney was not fired, the sheriff said, “We have to wait 48 hours to have a disciplinary hearing, basically he resigned before that 48 hours, as we were going into the hearing.”
Mooney made $18 an hour as a deputy and had been there since April 2018. “I expect him to do his job. Everybody knew what they were making when they started here. It’s a very demanding job. With all the publicity we get down here, I do feel it’s just another black eye on Pike County. That is not how our department runs. I think it’s an isolated incident,” said Nelson