U.S. News

Ex-deputies sentenced in Georgia inmate jail death

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Two former sheriff’s deputies were sentenced on Friday in connection with the death of a Nigerian college student who died in a Savannah, Georgia jail cell last New Years Day, court officials said.

Former deputy Jason Kenny was sentenced to one month in jail, with time to be served at weekends, on a conviction of cruelty to an inmate, along with three years probation, court officials said.

Former deputy Maxine Evans was sentenced to six years probation on public records fraud and three counts of perjury for providing false grand jury testimony.

Both were found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter last month in the death of Matthew Ajibade, 21, who a coroner said died of blunt force trauma in what he ruled was a homicide.

A former nurse, Greg Brown, was also found guilty of making a false statement and was given a three-year suspended sentence, court officials said.

Ajibade, an artist and a computer science student, was tasered multiple times while strapped in a restraint chair, according to court testimony.

Jail house security video of the event showed him screaming, clothed only in his underwear and tased in his groin area.

Ajibade’s cousin Chris Oladapo, on behalf of the family, provided a written victim’s statement, according to the family’s Florida-based Mark O’Mara.

“Whatever sentence is handed down here today makes no difference,” Oladapo wrote. “These three people are just pawns, and those in leadership most culpable will be left unpunished.”

Nine deputies were fired in the aftermath of Ajibade’s death.

In a separate civil lawsuit, Ajibade’s family alleges he was having a manic episode caused by bipolar disorder, causing his girlfriend to call police for help.

The suit claimed that she explained the situation to officers, but instead of taking him to the hospital they arrested him.

The police report said that deputies responded to a domestic violence call and Ajibade was arrested on those charges, as well as battery and resisting arrest.

A deputy suffered a broken nose in the altercation, officials said.

Ajibade was put in restraints after fighting with officers and was later found unresponsive in his jail cell, officials said.

Editing by David Adams and Alan Crosby