A Facebook video of officers dealing with a prisoner in the Pratt County Jail showed only a portion of the entire event and has gotten lots of attention in Pratt. The video has no sound.
A Facebook video, posted by Destry Ibarra, showing activity in the interior of the Pratt County Jail is getting a lot of attention in the Pratt area. The video has no audio and shows two Pratt County Officers and a prisoner, Joe Urban, in the holding area in the booking room in the Law Enforcement Center. The video was made on May 25, 2017 and runs from about 10:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Pratt County Sheriff Jimmy White said the video posted on Facebook is only a portion of the video that lasts about 30 minutes. He said Urban became non-compliant with officers commands and that resulted in the use of a taser seen in the video.
Urban had been arrested earlier in the evening for domestic battery and criminal restraint against a female. As a result of his actions in the booking area in the LEC, Urban was also charged with assault on a law enforcement officer and criminal interference with a law enforcement officer.
The charges of domestic battery and criminal restraint against a female and the charges of assault on a law enforcement officer and criminal interference with a law enforcement officer have both been resolved in the courts and Urban is currently on probation, White said.
In the video on Facebook, Urban walks to the bench and sits down and puts his hands on his head. One officer, who has a taser pointed at Urban, has his back to the camera and is facing Urban who is sitting on a bench and is not handcuffed. When Urban was first brought into the booking area, he was handcuffed but was compliant so his handcuffs were removed, White said.
Another officer is in the back of the room at a stooge room.
Urban and the officer are talking with each other and the officer has a taser pointed at Urban but has not deployed it. Urban stands up and raises his arms. The officer points at Urban and continues to talk to him and eventually deploys the taser. Urban sits down and the officer continues to talk to Urban. The officer deploys the taser again and Urban rolls off the bench and goes face down to the floor on his hands and knees. The officer then kicks Urban in the hips and Urban goes all the way down to the floor. Both officers then work together to handcuff Urban and put shackles on his feet.
White said Urban continued to be non-compliant. The officer had repeatedly ordered Urban to get off the bench and lay flat on the floor so the officers could put him back in handcuffs. When he refused, the taser was used three times.
After Urban is flat on the floor, the officer with the taser keeps Urban on the floor while the second officer puts on handcuffs on this wrists and on his ankles.
White said Urban calmed down and was compliant once he was on the floor.
The entire video of the incident lasts about 30 minutes. There are two perspectives of the room. When the video starts, Urban is not handcuffed and is sitting on the bench. He stands up and walks to the Booking Room. He stands there for a time then raises his hands in the air and walks back to the bench and sits down. An officer can be seen in the background. He is talking with Urban, White said.
Urban gets up and walks to the jail administrators door, faces it and puts his hands on the door. He discovers the door is unlocked and goes inside the office. The two officers immediately lean against the door and try to get it open. White said the officers kept ordering Urban to come out and he was non-compliant. After a couple of minutes, Urban comes out, walks past the officers and sits down on the bench. This is where the posted portion of the video begins.
When the posted portion stops, Urban is face down on the floor in hand cuffs and leg irons. The officer continues to talk with Urban. White said Urban had calmed down and was again compliant.
An ambulance is called to check Urban for any medical issues. A jail supervisor is also called. The paramedics and supervisor arrived at the same time. A paramedic talks with Urban who eventually signs the clip board and the paramedics leave. Having EMS check a prisoner after an incident like this is not mandatory but it is a good practice, White said.
The supervisor helps Urban to his feet and he is placed in a holding cell off camera where he is not visible. He changes clothes and puts on appropriate jail attire. The taser is collected and secured for evidence and the video ends, White said.
White said he was immediately notified of the incident and reviewed the video as soon as possible.
After reviewing the video and interviewing the officers and Urban, White said the officer's had acted appropriately. He repeatedly refused to comply and that prompted the use of the taser. Urban refused to lie flat on the floor and that's when the officer used his foot on Urban's hips to get him on the floor.
White said Urban has a history of being violent towards law enforcement officers and he said the use the taser was justified to protect the officers from injury in this incident. Both officers are still employed in the sheriff's office. Urban has also been known to fight with other prisoners, White said.
According to the Kansas Department of Corrections web site, Urban has prior conviction of obstruction of legal process back in 2013. The report includes disciplinary reports from the Larned Correctional Mental Heath Facility for fighting and disrespecting officers.
As for the origin of the video, it became part of the evidence in Urban's case. A copy of the video was provided to the county attorney who in turn gave a copy to Urban's attorney as part of the usual procedures in a criminal suite. By law, the prosecuting attorney has to give the defense all its evidence in a case as part of the disclosure process, White said.
Exactly who originally posted the video on Facebook is unknown. On her Facebook post, Ibarra said:
"Stop asking me how I got this video. Same way you did. The Internet. Someone sent it to me. Thanks."
White said he was concerned posting the video might be an attempt to smear the officers or the office but neither Urban nor Ibarra has ever complained to him about the incident and he didn't know why it was posted on Facebook.
"Urban has not contacted me to complain," White said.
He said no agency of any kind was investigating him or the officers about the incident.
If any allegations had been made against the officers, White said he would immediately contact an outside agency to conduct the investigation.
Efforts to reach Ibarra and Urban for comment have been unsuccessful.