Opelousas, LA. – Recently released bodycam and surveillance video shows a violent police encounter with a mentally ill man who was handcuffed to a hospital bed.
The incident occurred on the night of October 30, 2019. Jonah Coleman had been taken to Opelousas General Hospital for an evaluation after his mother called police for assistance.
According to his mother, Florah Coleman, Jonah had been “in crisis for three days.”
“He was scared of everything,” Flora told KATC3 News. “Even the shower, he was scared of the water.”
When police arrive at her home, Flora can be heard on the body-camera video telling officers that her son had seen his psychiatrist days before and had been taking all of his medication.
Surveillance video from the hospital room shows Jonah sitting on the bed with his hands cuffed behind his back. In the room with Jonah are two medical professionals, one security guard and police officer Tyron Andrepont.
Andrepont can be seen speaking to Coleman, however there is no audio, so it is unknown what was said.
At some point in the video Jonah can be seen moving forward toward the foot of the bed. A medical professional pushes him back down twice. When Jonah attempts to sit up again, officer Andrepont punches him in the face. Jonah, still handcuffed, falls back down into a laying position on the bed after being struck by Andrepont.
“I watched him try and get out the bed and I asked him why. He said, ‘Mom I was trying to see for you guys. They were hurting me,'” Jonahs’ mother told KATC3 News.
After Andrepont punches Jonah in the face, medical staff can be seen putting restraints on his legs. During this time Andrepont can be seen choking Jonah with his right-hand holding him down on the bed by his throat. Andrepont continues to hold Jonah down with his hand on his throat for over one minute.
Moments later, after Jonah’s legs have been restrained, Andrepont puts him in a chokehold from behind. This chokehold continues for 30 seconds.
Jonah’s mother told KATC3 News that after hours of waiting she was told her son was in critical care
“We went for an evaluation. Why is he in critical care when all we needed was paperwork?” she says.
His mother said they were finally allowed to see Jonah after about six hours. According to his mother, Jonah had a busted lip and nose, developed dark rings around his eyes, had shoulder pain, and limped for about two months.
“They tortured him,” she told KATC3 News. “I feel they tortured and he was beaten and these are facilities that are supposed to take care of you, not hurt you.”
Former officer Andrepont was charged with five counts of malfeasance and has a pre-trail hearing in late April. Jury selection is set for June. He has pleaded not guilty.