Footage from the Knox County Jail cameras has been released after David Levi Dehmann, an autistic man, was allegedly killed by a Knox County Sheriff’s Office in the intake hallway. Police were called on April 21 after the autistic man was found intoxicated and half-naked beside his own vomit on a stranger’s patio. Later that day, police were again called on the man, and he was arrested. After being taken to the jail by deputies in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the Sheriff’s deputies had to help him out of the cop car and into the jail, allegedly because he was so drunk. Inquisitr covered the details of the story just before the public was given the opportunity to view the camera footage. More details about the events leading up to Dehmann’s arrest can be read in that earlier report.
While inside the jail, the autistic man was reportedly smiling and attempting to hug, converse, and joke with the deputies, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The deputies then removed his handcuffs. As they led the autistic man down the hallway, he is seen in the video footage from the jail pointing and waving goodbye to them, one deputy at a time. After seemingly repeating the same behavior to Deputy Chase Wright, Deputy Wright slaps the autistic man’s hand.
Earlier reports had indicated that Dehmann tried to punch Deputy Wright, and that he had become a threat to officers. The videos from the jail’s camera present a different scenario. Dehmann, reportedly suffering from both autism and Tourette’s Syndrome, is seen in the video responding to being slapped by the deputy by lunging forward and extending an arm clumsily towards the deputy in an apparent attempt to hit the officer. The police report on the incident said that Deputy Wright placed “Mr. Dehmann into a takedown hold, taking him to the ground to get control of him,” but the video shows that the “takedown hold” was much more shocking than the police report suggested.
Dehmann immediately became unresponsive, and the deputies called for medical help. Dehmann would never get up from the shocking takedown hold. The autistic man died at Grant Medical Center allegedly from head trauma just after midnight on April 23.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, Dehmann had also hit his head earlier in the day when he fell down from his own drunkenness. Police indicated that while in the police car after being arrested, he was banging on the plexiglass and spitting on the windows. He needed assistance even walking into the jail. Additionally, Dehmann had a history of arrests and has been in trouble for domestic violence before, as reported in the earlier Inquisitr report.
Some members of the Ohio community have organized a community event called “Op Justice for Levi,” which is set to take place on Saturday, May 16. In a flyer advertising the event by organizers who claim to be supported by some organization known as the Three Percent Militia, Mount Vernon residents are encourage to show up with food, drinks, and firearms.
It is unclear at this time if the earlier head trauma added to the severity of his injury at the jail. The autopsy results have not been released yet. Deputy Wright was placed on administrative leave while the state’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation looks into the autistic man’s death.
[Photo via WBNS News]