Ex-Texas sergeant acquitted of assault in 2017 inmate death

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ANGLETON, Texas (AP) — A former Texas prison sergeant accused of throwing a handcuffed inmate onto a floor so hard that the convicted robber later died has been acquitted.

Lou Joffrion was acquitted last month of aggravated assault in the 2017 death of David Witt. Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel declined comment Monday.

Prison officials in May condemned Joffrion’s conduct but said a painkiller in Witt’s blood possibly caused the altercation. The Houston Chronicle reports evidence later showed Witt received the drug during treatment after the incident.

Investigators say Witt, who was diagnosed with mental health issues and often refused orders, balked at returning to his cell from a day room. An attorney for Joffrion defended his use of force.

The sergeant resigned while facing termination.

Inmate advocate Jennifer Erschabek called it “legalized brutality.”

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