Jury convicts ex-officer in jail assault

New video obtained by 10News shows more closely a November 2014 beating involving Knox County corrections officers and an inmate. Jan. 18, 2016

KNOXVILLE - TUESDAY UPDATE: The former Knox County corrections officer charged with beating a mentally ill inmate has been convicted of assault and officials oppression.

A Knox County Criminal Court jury convicted Nicholas J. Breeden, 37, on Tuesday afternoon after a two-day trial.

Jurors deliberated less than an hour before reaching their decision, according to the Knox County District Attorney General's Office.

Judge Bob McGee set sentencing for Jan. 26.

Breeden kicked inmate Louis Flack during a jail extraction Nov. 28, 2014, at the Roger D. Wilson Detention Facility off Maloneyville Road. Breeden was among several jail officers who tried to move Flack from a cell.

Some county jail employees were disciplined as a result. Breeden was fired.

According to prosecutors, after officers got Flack "under control," Breeden unlawfully kicked him in the head.

PREVIOUS STORY: The trial is underway for a former Knox County jailer caught on video kicking a hog-tied inmate.

The ex-corrections officer, Nicholas Breeden, is charged with official oppression and assault. A jury was selected Monday morning, and testimony began in the afternoon.

His attorneys have said he was caught in a "fight or flight instinct" when he kicked former inmate Louis Flack in the face in November 2014 after officers attempted to move him to another cell.

However, earlier this month, Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bobby McGee ruled that the defense could not call a doctor as a witness to testify about the jailer's mental state.

Louis Flack 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, but charges were later dropped.

Corrections officers were trying to transport Flack 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, according to video of the incident that was obtained by WBIR 10News.

The video shows five men storming the cell with two more watching from the door’s threshold. As Flack appeared to take a swing at one of them, the officers tackled him to the ground, and at least four started throwing punches.

The video, taken from a handheld camera, shows Breeden striking Flack repeatedly on the head and body as another officer knees him. Seconds after he’s face-down on the floor, one officer begins yelling “Give me your hands!” as the two men continue hitting Flack.

The officers quickly handcuff Flack and twist his legs behind him so that they are in a reverse yoga position. While on his stomach, Flack tells one of the officers that he has to visit his doctor because he’s scheduled for "execution."

Breeden then kicks Flack in the face.

Two months after the beating, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones fired Breeden and suspended a number of others involved.

The county settled with Flack for $200,000.

(© 2016 WBIR)


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