Brutalized inmate reaches settlement with Knox County

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A settlement agreement has been reached between Knox County and Louis Flack, the mentally ill former inmate who was at the center of a 2014 jail beating captured on video.  The footage showed jailers punching and kicking him after he was cuffed, placed into a hog-tied position, and rendered defenseless.

Flack and his attorneys initially sought $5 million after filing a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District court late last year. On Friday, though, the parties agreed to settle. Attorneys on both sides, though, declined to say for how much.

But, Flack’s attorney, Lance Baker, said Flack and his family are happy with the settlement.

“It was one of those things that was hard to turn down,” Baker said. “They’re happy and that’s the most important thing. There should be plenty to take care of him and his long-term need.”

The county and Baker will still have to reach an agreement on the attorney fees.

Flack, 54, was in custody at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility on Maloneyville Road in November 2014. Authorities initially arrested him for burglary and aggravated assault, although the charges were later dropped.

On the afternoon of Nov. 28, correction officers were trying to transport him to a different holding cell, but Flack – who was locked in his cell – refused to stick his hands through a sliding panel in the door so that officers could cuff him.

The guards, in order to extract Flack from the cell, rushed in and beat him, even after he was restrained, according to videos of the beating obtained by WBIR 10News.

Two months after the beating, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones fired jail employee Nick Breeden and suspended Cpl. David Sparkes and Chris Fustos without pay after reviewing the camera footage.

Sparkes was the supervisor on duty at the time of the Nov. 28 incident.

An internal review found the men used “techniques that violated policy” and use-of-force options taught by the department.

Jail employee Jesse Rudd also resigned amid the probe.

Breeden was later charged with official oppression and assault in connection with the beating.

The charges against Flack were eventually dropped and in November 2015 his attorney filed a $5 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court that accused the county, the sheriff’s office and six employees of violating Flack’s civil rights, using excessive force against him, inflicting emotional distress and violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Last month, the county law department sought and was granted judicial mediation by Clifford Shirley. The mediation, which happened on Friday, lasted more than four hours.

Baker on Monday said Flack “is doing much better,” and is a patient at Helen Ross McNabb.

“They’ve been taking great care of him,” Baker said. “He’s on medication daily and receives daily visits from a social worker, and they’ve done a great job with him.”

(© 2016 WBIR)

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