The parents of a man who passed while he was an inmate at a jail in Tennessee have filed a $21 million lawsuit claiming their son died because of a beating he received while behind bars. Joe and Natasha Peppers say that their son, Stewart Peppers, was beaten by six jail employees on April 29 after he began shouting obscenities. The Peppers filed the suit against Washington County, the county sheriff and six jail officers in U.S. District Court in Greeneville.
According to the suit, Peppers was beaten and then strapped to a restraint chair. Court papers state: “After the initial beating, Peppers was placed in and strapped to a restraint chair that prevented Peppers from being able to move, at which point, Defendant Lowe continued to beat Peppers, by striking him repeatedly in the face with his fists. Over the course of the beating, chemical spray and electrical tasers were implemented and used. The duration of this incident continued for approximately twenty minutes. At the conclusion of the beating, the Defendants laid Peppers on the floor and began to perform CPR that appeared to be unsuccessful. At which point, the Defendants called the Nurse, who in turned called for Emergency Medical Technicians.”
Peppers later died while being transported to Johnson City Medical Center by ambulance, the Johnson City Press reported. There is a video of the incident that reportedly may have been seized by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
The parents are seeking damages including medical expenses, reasonable funeral expenses, emotional shock, fright and distress of Peppers, the value of his life and loss of consortium. They have demanded that the case go before a jury.
Stewart was behind bars after being charged with aggravated assault, unlawful possession of a weapon, felony vandalism, simple possession of a schedule VI drug for resale and simple possession of a schedule III drug.