$3M lawsuit claims Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies used exces - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

$3M lawsuit claims Hamilton County Sheriff's deputies used excessive force

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The inmate at the center of a 2014 video that appears to show Hamilton County deputies using alleged excessive force has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the department.

The video was captured inside the Hamilton County Jail. It shows deputies slamming the suspect into a desk before putting him in a holding cell. 

At the time, deputies said Joshua Ferriera was aggressive and resisted them. But Ferriera's attorneys, Clancy Covert and Lee Ortwein, say the officers took it too far.

READ MORE | District Attorney requests TBI to investigate alleged jailhouse beating

The lawsuit specifically names Hamilton County Deputy Jeremy Wright, plus 12 other unnamed "John Doe" officers who were involved in the incident.

According to the suit, Ferriera was "crying out in pain" and "pleading with the deputies that he was in extreme pain... but the excessive force continued."

Once inside the cell, Ferriera claims the deputies jumped on his head "with the full weight of their bodies", leaving him "bloody" and "unconscious."

But deputies previously testified that they had to use "whatever force necessary", including police batons and tasers, to even get the combative Ferriera into custody.

After the incident, Sheriff Jim Hammond called for an internal affairs investigation.

On Tuesday, the Sherriff's Office could not provide an update on the status of those cases, and said they were in the hands of their attorney.

"Officers aren't perfect, but I'm not going to back officers that step outside of their training. We'll look at it," Hammond said after the video surfaced last year.

However, Ferriera's attorney calls the alleged jailhouse beating "cruel and unusual punishment, humiliation and torture."

At this point, there has been no decision made on filing any criminal charges against any of the deputies. 

The TBI investigated the incident at the request of District Attorney General Neal Pinkston last year. The TBI returned its findings to the DA's Office, and prosecutors are still going over that report.

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