A Rapides Parish deputy was arrested and fired Tuesday for assaulting a jail inmate, but the man who says he was the victim of the attack believes justice still has yet to be served.
Deputy Ryan Lewis was arrested and charged with simple battery nearly two weeks after the alleged attack on Malcolm Williams.
When Williams saw Lewis’ mugshot, he said he was the deputy who attacked him, but he wasn’t the only one.
Williams says at least three other corrections officers joined Lewis in the assault, violently kicking and punching him until he lost consciousness.
Now that the officer who he says started the attack has been arrested, Williams wants to know why the other officers are being let off the hook.
Williams and his attorney, Ron Haley, say the deputy should face a harsher charge and more officers should be arrested.
“It was cool, but he got a simple battery charge. Simple Battery is just a fight. It’s just me and you tussling. That’s not simple battery,” Williams said, pointing to his still swollen, black eye. “That’s second degree battery. Blood was drawn.”
Williams continued, “And he wasn’t alone. So that’s unfair to him to be honest because I don’t think he’s the one that caused the most damage. He’s probably the one that initiated the situation.”
Williams said after Deputy Lewis started attacking him, at least three other officers joined in.
The other officers Williams says were involved have not been charged with any crimes, although it’s been over a week since the alleged assault happened… an assault that was captured on the jail’s surveillance video.
“I just wish the sheriffs office would do their job because he watched it. And he knows his officer was wrong if he fired him, right? Because if he wasn’t wrong, he wouldn’t be fired,” Williams told News Ten.
Though Lewis was fired and charged with simple battery, Williams and his attorneys say it’s not enough.
“He can go and easily get another job with a simple battery charge. That’s not even a felony,” Williams noted.
In Louisiana, simple battery is a misdemeanor, and misdemeanors don’t prevent officers from working in law enforcement again.
“Everybody thinks this jail is just a place for the worst criminals, not knowing you might be hiring a criminal. He just doesn’t have any charges,” Williams added.
He and his attorney say Lewis should have been charged with second degree battery, not simple battery.
A person is charged with simple battery when they assault a victim without intentionally inflicting serious injury. It’s the least serious battery offence under Louisiana law.
Second degree battery, on the other hand, is a felony.
In Louisiana, it means a person intentionally inflicted serious bodily injury on the victim. Unconsciousness is considered a serious bodily injury.
Williams says he did lose consciousness during the officers’ alleged attack.
“I was out of it. I layed against the wall. I couldn’t see. I swole instantly. You know, usually you get a knot, and it takes a while. No, it was just ‘Wooh,'” he said, feeling the bumps still on his forehead.
He says there is surveillence video that proves it.
“It’s simple. It’s on camera. It’s not going to lie. We can’t edit it. I’m not going to have two hands on the video. It’s going to be the same one-handed guy trying to go home,” he said. “I just want to see that.”
Williams had his arm amputated below his elbow several years ago after a wrist surgery went wrong. He says only having one arm made him especially vulnerable during the attack.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office rejected News Ten’s public records request to obtain the video, as they say the alleged assault is still under investigation.
Williams’ attorney, Ron Haley, says the sheriff’s office has yet to respond to their request for the video.
“If this is the justice system, if you are there protecting and serving, serve the world this video, and let us see that you are protecting us or how do y’all go about protecting us,” Williams said. “Because it wasn’t just one cop. It was four, probably five.”
News Ten did reach out to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office to question why Deputy Ryan Lewis was charged with simple battery instead of second degree battery. We have not yet heard back.