SCOTT COUNTY, Tenn. (WATE) — Scott County Sheriff Ronnie Phillips has placed two deputies on suspension pending an investigation into their interaction with a disabled woman captured on video.
WATE has reviewed the video in which a deputy can be heard calling a woman with one leg who appears to be homeless, ‘satanic,’ ‘possessed,’ and telling her, ‘nobody cares what you have to say in this county.” The video appears to be recorded by one of the deputies.
The two deputies were suspended on Sunday pending an internal review of the video circulating online. Phillips on Monday announced the suspensions and new law enforcement training initiatives with a focus on ethical communication and de-escalation in the same press release.
Phillips said he was made aware of the video involving deputies on Saturday.
“Foremost, I personally apologize for the unprofessional manner in which this incident was handled. My deputies know the standard that is expected of them not only by me, but the citizens of this wonderful county we serve,” Phillips said Saturday. “I want to assure each of you that immediate corrective action has been taken by me personally. Going forward, I want our county to know that situations such as these will not be tolerated by the Scott County Sheriffs Office.”
“It is imperative that in our line of work we use proper caution when dealing with any person, during any situation,” Phillips said Monday. “Improving our ethical standards and communication, along with, managing the high rate of arrestees and people we deal with that have diminished mental capacity has to be one of our foremost goals and making every attempt to mitigate the escalation when dealing with the criminally charged person with diminished mental capacity. It’s our hope that by providing our employees additional and new training that we can better serve this population and better educate our public servants on what to look for and how to best respond.”