A dramatic video showing the fatal assault against inmate Jessie Lee Williams Junior was made public Tuesday. It was among the exhibits shown to a federal jury which convicted former Harrison County jailer Ryan Teel, and held him responsible for Williams' death.
Jessie Lee Williams Jr. spent just over 30 minutes at the Harrison County jail the night of February 4th 2006. He arrived in handcuffs, but left on a stretcher, headed for Memorial Hospital, where he soon died from injuries received during the booking room altercation.
The jury that convicted Ryan Teel heard from eye witnesses and watched the assault on jail surveillance video. The video shows an animated Jessie Lee Williams arrive in booking around ten thirty that night.
Ryan Teel testified Williams was combative from the beginning, making threats and saying "we have to fight." The jailer said Williams ignored repeated requests to stay put against the wall.
The first contact between Teel and Williams seems to show the jailer telling the inmate to follow orders. The altercation begins just minutes later. Teel told the jury he tried to kick Williams after the inmate lunged toward him. Other witnesses say the kick was unprovoked.
What is clear in the video is what follows: Williams and Teel scuffle and soon land against a wall.
Teel told the jury Williams was choking him at one point during the initial altercation. Several other deputies quickly join the fray. For many minutes to follow, Williams is face down, but mostly out of camera range. However, it's clear the jailers have control.
During this extended time on the floor, deputies are on top Williams and his hands are cuffed behind his back. It's during this time witnesses testified the inmate was pepper sprayed and shot with a taser. They also told the jury Teel was delivering kicks and punches to Williams' head, something Teel denied.
The video shows a restraint chair being brought to the booking hallway. At different moments, Teel is seen bringing a spit mask that was placed on Williams' head. A short time later, he retrieves a strap which was used to "hog tie" the inmate.
While hog tying an inmate is against jail policy, Teel testified "under extreme circumstances, we are able to use whatever force necessary."
Prosecutors pointed out that Williams was hardly a threat at that point, laying on his belly with hands cuffed behind his back. They also brought out the size difference in the two men: Williams 5-foot-6, 160 pounds, Teel 6-foot-2 and 285 pounds at the time.
Some of the most disturbing images show jailer Teel picking up a hog tied Williams like a suitcase, pushing his head along the floor, then dropping him near the restraint chair.
During the minutes that follow, several other deputies pass by, seemingly oblivious to what's going on.
The video shows Teel apparently slamming Williams and the restraint chair into a wall. He then delivers a few punches to the stomach, something he admitted on the witness stand, saying he was angry after Williams kicked him in the groin.
Shortly after these images, around 11pm, some 30 minutes after he arrived at booking, Jessie Lee Williams Jr. was unconscious and would never recover.
Again, Ryan Teel was convicted and faces a possible life in prison when he's sentenced November first.
His former boss, Rick Gaston, was a co-defendant in that that federal trial. He was accused of being part of a conspiracy to abuse inmates at the Harrison County jail. Gaston was found "not guilty" on all charges he faced.