Two former Oklahoma County jail officers walked out of a courtroom Thursday after a judge ruled that there wasn’t enough evidence to support proceeding with an assault and battery trial against them.
Former detention officer Jose Botello, 29, and former detention deputy John Jacobson, 29, were charged with assault and battery in January. They were accused of assaulting inmate Cortez Meadows, causing injuries to his head, shoulders, wrist and back.
Both men were fired after being arrested on the complaints.
Meadows testified that the law officers were yelling at him and ordering him to be quiet and he was compliant with their requests. He also testified that his wrist was injured and he was struck in the head and body while obeying commands.
But a number of other law officers, including the defendants, testified that Meadows was unruly, making threats and refusing to follow orders. The detention officers led Meadows from a holding pen with other inmates to an isolated cell dubbed “the pink room.”
Incident was recorded
A surveillance camera outside the room recorded the incident. Over two days of testimony, defense attorneys and prosecutors argued different accounts of what was occurring on the footage.
What is apparent on the video is that Meadows was handcuffed before being taken into the cell and a struggle ensued while they attempted to remove the cuffs as the man lay on the ground.
“He wasn’t being compliant,” Botello testified. “He was being a threat.”
Special Judge James Croy sided with the defendants in the case Thursday and the jury was dismissed.
“These two detention officers were merely doing their job with an uncooperative inmate,” Botello’s defense attorney, Michael Johnson, said after the trial. “Before people criticize the job that they do, they need to come down to the jail and spend a day doing that job.
“Hopefully our sheriff will start taking better care of his employees and quit siding with inmates and criminals who seem to think they deserve the same privileges at our jail that they do at the Skirvin.”