AP NEWS

Texas prison guard acquitted in death of inmate

October 14, 2019 GMT
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows David Witt. A former Texas prison sergeant accused of throwing handcuffed inmate Witt onto a floor so hard that the convicted robber later died has been acquitted. Lou Joffrion was acquitted in September 2019 of aggravated assault in the 2017 death of David Witt. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel declined comment Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)
This undated photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows David Witt. A former Texas prison sergeant accused of throwing handcuffed inmate Witt onto a floor so hard that the convicted robber later died has been acquitted. Lou Joffrion was acquitted in September 2019 of aggravated assault in the 2017 death of David Witt. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel declined comment Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. (Texas Department of Criminal Justice via AP)

ANGLETON, Texas (AP) — A jury has acquitted a former Texas prison guard who slammed a handcuffed inmate to the ground so hard that the man’s liver ruptured and he died.

The Houston Chronicle reports that Lou Joffrion was acquitted last month on aggravated assault charges in the 2017 death of David Witt, who had mental health issues.

Authorities say Joffrion, who was a sergeant at the Darrington Unit in Brazoria County south of Houston, picked up the 128-pound Witt and slammed him to the ground after Witt refused orders to return to his cell from a common area.

Joffrion’s lawyer, Connie Williams, defended the use of force, saying the question of whether it was excessive is “subjective.”

Jennifer Erschabek of the Texas Inmate Families Association called the verdict “legalized brutality.”

Joffrion resigned while facing possible firing.

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Information from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com