Former jail employees cleared of wrongdoing
OKLAHOMA CITY — ?They were fired, arrested and had their pictures in the media. The men were accused of using excessive force on a jail inmate and almost overnight turned from respected members of law enforcement to accused criminals. All that changed Thursday morning."It's redemption," John Jacobson told Fox 25 in an exclusive interview.Jacobson along with Jose Botello were facing misdemeanor assault and battery charges after an incident at the jail in December of 2013. Their trial began Monday and after two days of testimony the judge ended the trial saying there was not enough evidence to prove any crime occurred.The rare legal ruling put an end to more than six months of agony and embarrassment.
"I can go out with my family, now that everybody knows what's going on and that I got cleared," Jose Botello told Fox 25, "Cause people judge before they know what's going on."
The men said the incident they were accused of was nothing out of the ordinary. Botello said it was a typical Friday night at the Oklahoma County jail and there were a lot of inmates and not enough staff. He said one inmate began making threats.
"He was threatening everybody and we took him back there to avoid conflicts with other inmates," Botello said.
The men said their supervisor ordered the officers to take the man to an individual holding cell. They said the man was uncooperative and they used a maneuver they learned in training to subdue him and put him in the cell. They say the maneuver is designed to make sure the inmate is lying on the ground and the officers are able to get out of the cell before he gets back up.
"I can't believe again that it got to this point, nothing happened back there that was out of line," Jacobson said, "That was training; tactics to a 't.'"
Jacobson and Botello said their supervisor cleared them on the spot and told them the incident did not constitute use of force. They say it was weeks later they learned the inmate complained and they were under investigation, which eventually led to criminal charges.
"Incredibly rough, headaches, can't sleep my entire reputation has been on the line," Jacobson said, "Lost my job, I lost my wages I've been looked at like a criminal."
Both men believe the sheriff's office conducted an improper investigation and say the judge's ruling backs up that claim.
"I believe that the Oklahoma County Sheriff's office needs to make it right," Jacobson said.
The county says it followed all investigative procedures and cannot comment on the former employee's accusations.