Justice

Graphic Video Shows Matthew Ajibade Being Tased While Restrained

October 13th 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

A video obtained by NBC News appears to show deputies in Savannah, Georgia tasing Matthew Ajibade, a 22-year-old college student, in the groin after he was taken into custody on New Year's Day. The disturbing footage was captured on a camera attached to an officer's Taser, activated when the instrument was in use. Ajibade was found dead the following morning, still restrained to the chair with multiple injuries on his head and upper body.

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The coroner ruled Ajibade's death a homicide in June, and two deputies and a healthcare worker connected to the case are currently being tried for involuntary manslaughter, NBC News reported. The deputy who used the Taser, Jason Kenny, was also charged with aggravated assault and cruelty to an inmate.

Ajibade was arrested on January 1 after he allegedly hit his girlfriend and broke a responding officer's nose during a bipolar episode, according to his family. But what happened next has been largely kept from the public until this video was shown in court on Friday and subsequently released.

The Savannah College of Art and Design student was strapped to a chair in an isolation cell where a deputy placed a "spit mask" over his face. Civil rights and Black Lives Matter advocates have called Ajibade's death an injustice, another example of police brutality exacted against a Black man by white law enforcement officials.

"Strapped to the chair after already being beaten and stunned with a Taser multiple times, we see a red light, the target of the Taser, continually pointed at Matthew's groin," the Daily Kos reported. "The audio from the Taser camera is distorted, but we see little to no movement from Ajibade."

"Soon, we see that the Taser is moving closer to his genitals. As the camera gets closer to his genitals, it is deployed. You hear the awful shock of the Taser, followed by the unforgettable screams of Matthew Ajibade. The video then ends—perhaps as the Taser is turned off, but we don't know."

Prosecutors have determined that Ajibade was not physically resisting at the time that he was tased, contradicting deputy Kenny's account of the incident. Ajibade's attorney, Mark O'Mara, called the video "disgusting and vile."

"It is nothing less than torture," O'Mara told NBC News. "It's sadism."

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