police car
A January beating by police has led to an FBI investigation. Image: davidsonscott15/Flickr/CC BY

The FBI has launched a criminal probe into a January incident in which a Tennessee man was stripped, beaten and repeatedly shocked with a Taser by sheriff deputies. A civil suit is being prepared against the officers.

Police respond to gunshots

The incident occurred on Jan. 23 and was recorded by the dashboard camera in a patrol car of one of the Humphreys County sheriff deputies. Darren T. Ring, 34, of New Johnsonville, Tenn., was present when officers responded to reports of gunshots. He was not involved with the firing of any gun, but reports show he was drunk when officers arrived. He was eventually charged with three counts of assaulting an officer, one of resisting arrest and one of a parole violation.

Dashboard camera records beating

The surveillance video shows deputies forcing Ring to strip. He is held down face first in the snow while deputies kick and strike him with batons. Ring suffered four broken ribs and a punctured lung from the beating.

In his incident report, Deputy James McCord wrote that Ring kicked him in the testicles, poked him in the eye and tried to grab a weapon from one of the deputies. “He was extremely violent towards all the deputies trying to restrain him,” McCord reported. “He was continuously kicking and spitting on the deputies.”

Public defender obtains footage

Ring was unable to make bail and sat in jail for five months awaiting his trial. But in early July, Jake Lockert, his court-appointed defense attorney, obtained a copy of the dashboard surveillance footage. Lockert subsequently filed a motion requesting the court to drop all charges, saying that the case against Ring is law enforcement’s attempt to “cover up their own criminal conduct.”

Charges dropped

Humphreys County Sheriff Chris Davis defended the officers in a statement on July 7. He called the video a “two-dimensional depiction” of the occurrence. “We feel our deputies will be shown to have conducted themselves as trained when all the facts come out.” On July 11, however, the district attorney dismissed the charges against Ring, and he was released from jail.

FBI begins investigation

The FBI and the Tennessee Department of Investigation have subsequently started separate investigations into the incident. The FBI investigation is to determine whether Ring’s civil rights were violated. The Tennessee Department of Investigation is looking into possible state law violations.

Officers suspended or placed on leave

In light of the investigation, three of the deputies involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave with pay. A Waverly, Tenn., police officer, who allegedly used the stun gun repeatedly on Ring, has been suspended without pay.

Civil suit pending

David Raybin, an attorney now working on the Ring case, says a civil lawsuit against the officers is being prepared. “The civil rights violations of my client were profound and absolutely unnecessary,” he said.


Investment Watch: http://investmentwatchblog.com/tennessee-cops-repeatedly-tase-beat-and-kick-handcuffed-man-for-10-minutes-catch-it-all-on-their-dashcam-the-man-suffered-broken-ribs-and-a-punctured-lung/
News One: http://newsone.com/nation/casey-gane-mccalla/darrin-ring-video-police-brutality/
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/25/darrin-ring-beating_n_908986.html?icid=maing-grid7|maing9|dl1|sec1_lnk2|81208

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