In October, Charles Wade was booked in Dayton, Ohio’s Montgomery County Jail, the same place a woman named Amber Swink had been pepper-sprayed while inside a seven-point harness the year before.
Wade told The Washington Post that the moment he realized he was about to be strapped into a restraining chair, he became filled with terror.
Both Swink and Wade were restrained and pepper-sprayed during their detainment at the jail. Surveillance footage of the incidents are both disturbing and terrifying.
Swink struggled to breathe and eventually passed out in an isolation cell covered in orange spray. In later interviews, she referred to the treatment as torture.
Wade, a Black man, was arrested for reportedly driving drunk. The video shows him surrounded by several White officers who can be seen restraining him as he attempts to pound his head against a wall. Soon after, he can be heard screaming, “I can’t breathe” after being pepper-sprayed by a cop at point-blank range.
The Post was given footage of the incident by Community Activist David Esrati.
In the video, Wade can be heard telling officers, “I’m not resisting. I’m not doing anything to fight you guys. If you cause any pain, my lawyer will know about it.”
On Tuesday, Wade filed a lawsuit accusing the sheriff’s department and its members of using excessive force “that shocked the conscience and in fact amounted to torture.” He also says the acts of law enforcement officials affiliated with the department “violated his rights to be secure from cruel and unusual punishment.”
The filing also alleges that department officials worked to cover up the incident with an aim to destroy evidence of the abuse.
At the time, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer called Swink’s treatment “an isolated incident.” But Douglas Brannon, who is representing both Swink and Wade, say that is clearly not the case.
“I think it happened again because there was no discipline handed out to officers involved in abusing Amber Swink,” Brannon said. “I think this type of treatment is becoming something that happens with impunity within the Montgomery County jail. Certainly, there were four large corrections officers — in addition to a sergeant — who were with Charles Wade and who had sufficient control over him and the situation without resorting to excess uses of force, including the pepper spray.”
Watch the disturbing incident below.