Russell County Deputy Fired For Choking Inmate
Former Deputy Stephon Lopez Parker Is Retired Army Veteran
According to Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor a 34 year old inmate making his first court appearance for felony theft started calling Deputy Stephon Parker obscenities as they left the Judicial Building last Friday when the situation quickly escalated to a physical confrontation and use of excessive force.
“In this line of business there are many, many instances where we have to put out hands on inmates, people we’re going after, people we’re arresting but you have to be justified and right when you do that um this was not,” Sheriff Taylor said during an afternoon press conference.
Witness statements, supported by surveillance video show Deputy Parker physically choking the inmate with both hands before another Deputy steps in. After an internal investigation the Russell County Deputy was arrested and fired from the Department after four years of service. Prior to his career with the Sheriff’s Department, Parker deployed for multiple combat tours with the Army according to his comrades.
“This was out of the ordinary. It was out of the ordinary for Mr. Parker’s own behavior. I don’t know what he’s dealing with or what’s going on but there has to be rules and regulations that we follow and that goes for everybody not just the public,” Sheriff Taylor said.
The Sheriff said no amount of verbal abuse, which the deputies train for warranted Parker’s reaction.
“I hope that this sends a message to the Deputies that work for me that we’re not gonna put up with this type of behavior as well as the community that they trust that we’re not gonna abuse the power and trust that they have in us,” he said
The inmate who was choked has since been transferred to the Lee County Detention Center for as a safety precaution the Sheriff said.