Video has emerged showing Broward County sheriff’s deputies in Florida pull a woman from her chair and assault her while she was being processed into jail on the charge of disorderly conduct last year.
Audra West, a tourist from Texas, says she began menstruating while wearing nothing but her jail clothes and asked Deputy Kristin Connelly for a tampon.
When Connelly told her to ask nicely, West did, but Connelly still refused. That’s when West told Connelly, ” f*** you.”
Surveillance footage from the jail video shows Connelly begin putting on latex gloves and approach West as Deputy Henry Lawrence tries to block her.
“Don’t do it, don’t do it,” Lawrence urges Connelly, but the deputy gets past him and snatches West from her chair and begins to wrestle her around the room.
A witness told local reporters that West did “nothing” to physically provoke the attack.
The footage shows Connelly and Lawrence push West onto a desk and then onto the floor, where Connelly controls her and pushes her into a small room.
Deputies Joyce Johnson and Dorothy Jenkins immediately follow her inside the room, which is not equipped with a video camera, and the door is closed. West is escorted out by Connelly and Johnson about 3 1/2 minutes later having suffered a badly blackened eye and bruises about her body.
“I was on the floor on my stomach and [Connelly] punched me on this side of the face,” West said. “I was being kicked and stepped on from behind, and she was punching me in the face. She punched me in the eye several times.”
An “inmate disciplinary report,” filed by officers at the time of the incident pinned the altercation on West. “When Deputy Connelly attempted to escort West, she attacked Connelly,” the report read.
Six days later, West filed an internal affairs complaint against Connelly and the other deputies, and the BSO began an investigation.
The following day, Connelly filed a probable cause affidavit filing criminal charges against West, alleging she had assaulted her and resisted arrest – but after reviewing the case, assistant state attorney Mark Horn declined to officially file charges against her.
“In viewing the video, I did not see where Audra West presented a physical threat to the deputy before being forcefully dragged out of her chair into a room with four other deputies,” Horn said.
Police would latter fully exonerated Connelly regarding her use of force, finding West’s allegation of misconduct “unfounded.”
“The Professional Standards Committee (PSC), which is made up of a mix of BSO employees and private citizens, reviewed the video and entire IA file and recommended no discipline for all three employees,” Sheriff Scott Israel said. “The PSC determined the actions taken were within the policy.”
West, whose attorney is preparing a civil lawsuit in the case, suffered a black eye, other facial injuries, body bruises, and skinned knees in the altercation.
“I’m outraged about it. I cannot believe they got away with that,” West said. “It’s not fair that they can do that and just turn a blind eye to it. I told everyone in the jail about it and no one cared. It was like it happens all the time.”
Local news coverage containing raw footage: