Ajibade’s Violent Jail Encounter Aired in Court

Still image from Chatham County Jail surveillance video of the violent encounter with Mathew Ajibade.

The video prosecutors fought for months to shield from public consumption: Mathew Ajibade walks — unrestrained — to be booked by two deputies.

He’s hard to hear, but has a strange debate with one deputy about the color of the chair where the deputy asks him to sit.

The deputies call for backup and the strange conversation continues.

But when a third deputy arrives, Ajibade is agitated and the deputies take him to the ground.

Ajibade thrashes and deputies can’t get the upper hand.

Sergeant Anza Rowland tases him, then goes to tase him again when she’s grabbed.

She falls to the floor and then stumbles to regain her footing before collapsing.

Deputy Greg Capers throws punches at Ajibade who now has the taser, while Deputy Eric Vinson kicks at it several times but lands a blow to the back of Matthew Ajibade’s head.

Ajibade’s resistance largely ends after that point; he’s hog-tied and carried away.

In testimony, the lieutenant in charge that night — who has been forced to retire because of the incident — called the force justifiable.

“He was using the force continuum and it appeared he punched the suspect because he had a weapon in his hand at that time,” former lieutenant Debra Johnson said. “The force was justifed.”

In earlier testimony, defense attorneys went to work on inconsistencies in the prosecution’s timeline, pointing out errors that other officers made that did not lead to any criminal charges.

They also got the state’s chief medical examiner to admit that responsibility lies in the jail’s chain of command, and that no one thing killed Mathew Ajibade.

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