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Two years ago, 37-year-old Tremar Harris was a pre-trial detainee in solitary confinement at the Appling County jail in Brunswick, Georgia. Now, Harris has filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against three correctional officers, one of whom can be seen in surveillance video wrapping a chain around his neck while he was in custody.

According to CNN, Tremar Harris’ suit alleges Officer William Rentz placed “the chain of an unused leg restraint” across Harris’ throat while he was restrained in a chair, which the video clearly shows, and that Rentz “pulled the chain” against Harris’ throat and “strangled” him for a few seconds before letting go. Rentz was fired after the incident and is currently facing criminal charges of violation of oath of office and battery. He is also the defendant in a separate lawsuit filed by Harris’ attorneys in January. As for the other three corrections officers named in the latest suit, they’re accused of doing nothing while their colleague tortured a Black inmate.

From CNN:

Officers Daydan Brannon, Cannon Mcleod and Ansley Fennell failed to intervene or stop Rentz “from engaging in such an awful, unlawful, hateful, and sadistic act,” the lawsuit stated, saying the defendants “had the ability, opportunity, skill and time to prevent and immediately stop Officer Rentz from strangling the Plaintiff” but did nothing on Harris’ behalf.

The lawsuit further contends the observing officers “failed to document the unlawful use of force, report the unlawful use of force, nor did they document or report the statements that Officer Rentz made to the Plaintiff.

The lawsuit says Harris was deprived of his rights under the Constitution and Georgia’s state laws by the officers. Harris is seeking a jury trial and compensatory and punitive damages.

All four officers have been accused of entering Harris’ cell and shocking him several times with a “shock shield,” which the lawsuit describes as “an electrified shield design(ed) to deliver an electric shock to those who come into contact (with) it.” And since no story like this would be complete without an expression of blatant racism, the suit alleges that Rentz told Harris he was “gonna put you back in the cotton field with the other boys” while he was “strangling” him with the leg shackles he removed from the inmate after allegedly leaving him in the cell for several hours. Rentz’s civil attorney, Patrick O’Connor, denied all of the allegations against his client saying, “Mr. Rentz did not choke Mr. Harris and Mr. Rentz never made the offensive comments falsely attributed to him.”


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