LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A Lafayette man says not only was he wrongfully arrested, but he was brutally attacked by multiple corrections officers just moments before being released from the Rapides Parish Jail.
He says the assault was so violent, he lost consciousness.
“I’m just thinking, ‘I’m fixing to die. I never thought I would be the hashtag,” Malcolm Xavier Williams said.
Williams says it started with a traffic stop that led to him being wrongfully imprisoned on Friday, March 19.
After being pulled over for failing to use a turn signal, an officer arrested him when he saw he had a warrant out for his arrest.
Though the warrent for his arrest had been dismissed a month earlier by the Lafayette officials, he was still placed in the Rapides Parish Jail.
After spending three nights in jail, officials realized it was all a misunderstanding and said he would be released from jail on Monday. That’s not what happened though.
“I was just thinking, ‘Hold on. Don’t die,'” Williams remembered.
Monday moring Williams headed to the jail’s laundry room to change from his jumpsuit into regular clothes prior to his release.
His excitement to go home quickly turned into fear while he and another inmate searched for his name on the list.
“So I’m helping him look through it, and while we’re looking through it, the cop comes and gets to looking through it himself,” he recalled. “And he’s just like, ‘Get the f*** on the wall,’ and I’m like, ‘Bro, I’m released. I’m fixing to go home.”
Williams says the corrections officer then turned his head to look behind him.
“And then he slammed me, boom. When he slammed me, I’m like, ‘What’s the problem? What’s going on?’ And he does that, and when he does that, the other cops come, and I’m thinking they’re coming to help. Then I see them. Pow, pow, pow. They’re hitting me. I’m still conscious at the moment to realize everything at this time, and they just keep slamming my head on the ground. And I’m out of it. I’m waking up, going to sleep, waking up, going to sleep, but they’re beating me,” he said.
He says for several minutes, five corrections officers beat him and didn’t stop, even when he started vomitting blood.
“I came in for a traffic stop. I’m fixing to die, and I’m released,” he said. “That was the scary part because if I would have fought back, I think I would have died, if I just hit one of them back. This is a guy that’s not fighting back.”
Williams says all he could do was wait for it to stop.
“My legs hurt. My back’s hurting. You’ve got your foot on my neck. I just watched a man die for having a foot on his neck for eight minutes and thirty seconds. I have a foot on my neck for like a minute and 30 seconds, and that’s the craziest pain,” he said.
Outside the jail, Williams’ sister sat waiting for him to be released, when she got a phone call from him about what had happened.
“The cops come out there to talk to her, and she just asks them bluntly, ‘Why did yall beat my brother?’ The cop looked at her dead in the face and said, ‘It be like that sometimes,’ and he humped his shoulders,” he told News Ten.
Back inside the jail, the officers threw Williams back in a cell for resisting arrest.
“How would you even get arrested? How could you resist getting released? What am I going to say? ‘No, I don’t want to go home. I want to stay here.’ This doesn’t even make sense,” he said.
After ten hours of sitting in a jail cell, Williams says the warden said she’d reviewed video surveillence that captured what really happened. She dropped the charges, and Williams was finally released.
The video, though, was not.
“It’s not released. I don’t know why. If i’m resisting, I want to see me resisting arrest. You accuse me of doing something I didn’t do? I can’t wait to show you I didn’t,” he said.
Williams was only allowed to file a complaint after he says he was senselessly attacked by the officers.
The Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office confirmed late today they are conducting an investigation into the allegations.
Despite Williams and his attorney’s requests, the sheriff’s office has not released the video that captured the alleged incident.
Attorney Ron Haley with Haley & Associates is representing Williams and released the following statement Thursday.
It reads, “Incarcerated individuals are defenseless, weaponless, and at the mercy of correctional officers. The use of gang tactics to torment and attack the vulnerable individuals in these officers’ care cannot be tolerated. We demand the immediate release of any surveillance footage of this savage beating and an immediate and transparent investigation into these heartless, violent bullies with badges.”