William Jennette suffocated to death as half a dozen police officers piled on top of him as he sprawled facedown on the floor. Video footage obtained by a local Tennessee outlet has gone viral on the internet showing police officers handling Jennette dangerously. The officers are heard telling him "you shouldn't be able to breathe" shortly before he died on the floor of a Tennessee jail last May.
In the viral video, Jennette, 48, can be heard repeatedly telling deputies he could not breathe. But the officers he struggled with taunted him until he was not breathing anymore.
The incident took place inside the Marshall County Jail in Lewisburg, Tennessee. Jennette's daughter has filed a lawsuit against the county, the city of Lewisburg, and several officers for his brutal death by torture, suffocation, and resultant death.
Jennette's daughter Dominique Jennette said the officials should have been more aware, trained properly, but they weren't. Much of her lawsuit focuses on what happened after police officers pinned her father to the ground and wrestled until his death.
While being pinned on the floor, Jennette screamed at the officers to get off his back as he continued to struggle with handcuffs. "Go get leg restraints before you do anything else, go get leg restraints," an officer said as officers piled on Jennette's back. A few seconds later, Jennette for the first time said that he could not breathe, but a female officer instead of sympathizing said, "You shouldn't be able to breathe, you stupid b*****d."
As per the video footage, police officers kept a knee to Jennette's back while one of them said: "Easy, easy — remember asphyxiation, guys," according to NewsChannel 5. "That's why I'm not on his lungs, to let him breathe," another officer replied. Jennette's last words before suffocating to death were "I'm good" when an officer yelled back at him saying "No, you ain't good. You're going to lay right there for a fu****g minute."
While autopsy reports say the cause of death was "acute combined drug intoxication" caused by meth, it is quite evident that Jennette's death was nothing unlike George Floyd's. Jennette was pinned down on the ground with force applied on his back by police officers for approximately 3 minutes and 43-second with handcuffs on, according to reports by NewsChannel 5 Nashville.
The father-of-five was arrested two days before his death for resisting arrest, public intoxication, and indecent exposure. Jail log records reveal that Jennette was "detoxing" and "hallucinating," according to reports.