ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has agreed to a settlement with a man who was punched, kicked and nearly suffocated inside the Ramsey County Jail, all while sitting handcuffed in a restraint chair. The incident was videotaped with a handheld camera, but the video was not revealed to the public until a FOX 9 Investigators story in February.
As part of the settlement, Ramsey County will pay the victim, Terrell Wilson, $525,000. The board will officially vote on the settlement at their meeting next Tuesday.
The incident occurred on April 13, 2016. Five deputies struggled to get Wilson into a restraint chair while he was being processed at the jail. The officers later admitted they did not know how to use the specialized device.
Corrections Officer Travis VanDeWiele kneed the man twice in the abdomen while trying to get him to sit back in the chair.
VanDeWiele applied pressure to the Wilson's jaw causing him to lift out of the chair. He then delivered four punches to the man's stomach.
The deputies also folded Wilson over as he struggled to breathe.
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter immediately condemned the video. Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who was not sheriff at the time of the incident, promised reforms and the jail and has since announced a series of policy and training changes, including a “duty to intervene” any time a staff member observes excessive use of force.
Wilson’s attorney, Michael B. Padden, released the following statement on his client’s behalf:
“This case represents a good template for how law enforcement and its elected officials should handle a situation like this when mistakes are made, and a citizen is injured. Ramsey County and its Sheriff’s Office, especially Sheriff Fletcher, should be commended for handling this matter in an honest, professional, and fair fashion.”
Padden said Wilson is “pleased with this resolution and is looking forward to moving on with his life.” He said he plans to relocate.