A New Mexico jail video shows inmate Susie Chavez screaming out in pain and being hit with a stun gun to the back.
The incident in the Bernalillo County jail has resulted in a possible criminal investigation against the Metro Detention Center sergeant whose lapel camera recorded it, said KOB 4.
The Albuquerque Journal said the video shows the inmate lying on the floor sobbing.
“Put her in a wrist lock,” Sgt. Eric Allen tells another jail officer, according to the newspaper, “and twist her wrist until she shuts up and stops crying.”
The newspaper, which obtained the video through an open records request, described its contents as follows: “Chavez is hit with a stun gun to the back. She later endures the wrist lock and inflammatory spray to the face. At one point, she starts banging her head on the ground.”
“The gut-wrenching screams go on for more than 45 minutes as she pleads with the officers,” said KOAT.
There were differing views about the level of force used in the video.
“Seeing the level of force used and the outcome, it was totally acceptable,” said Lt. Stephen Perkins, correctional officer union president, according to KRQE News 13.
However, jail administrator Thomas Ruiz told KRQE: “When viewing that, I had concerns in regard to what they were doing.”
The incident occurred in September 2015, but the video was released in mid August via an open records request. KRQE said the incident began with a cell search because Chavez was believed to not be following orders and “Video shows another officer pull her up by her hair.”
The sergeant has been on leave as the use of force was investigated, said KOAT.
Chavez – whose treatment sparked a community rally – was in the jail on a drug charge “and a warrant for a probation violation stemming from a 2011 case of contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” said The Albuquerque Journal, which added that Chavez said “she had struggled when her son was shot and killed in 2013”, but was now doing well.