NewsCovering Kentucky


Corrections Officer Suspended For Punching Inmate; Investigation Closed

Posted at 7:16 AM, Dec 20, 2018

SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WAVE 3)– An internal investigation at the Bullitt County Jail looked into a video of an intoxicated inmate being punched by a corrections sergeant. That inmate’s attorney is crying foul.

Attorney Steve Romines said he’s planning to file suit, and criminal charges should be filed because his client was knocked unconscious and suffered a brain injury.

Outgoing Jailer Martha Knox said there’s much more to the story.

The video shows the Nov. 21 punch that knocked out inmate Zachary Lee Foster, 26.

“I don’t need to narrate it — it speaks for itself,” Romines said of the punch on camera. “It’s a textbook example of unnecessary and excessive force.”

Romines said his client, who was picked up for public intoxication and possessing a controlled substance, suffered a brain injury from the punch from Sgt. Thomas Stottman.

“He goes down, hits his head on the concrete floor,” Romines said. ”Then you see him urinate on himself and he’s knocked out.”

Knox said an internal investigation found Foster had been out of control in his detox cell, falling down over and over, knocking his head on the wall and flooding his toilet.

She said he would not listen to officers’ commands, and while that’s not an excuse for punching him, she claims Foster took an aggressive stance in the doorway before Stottman punched him.

Romines doesn’t agree, saying Foster was locked in a cell, not threatening the corrections officer and the assault simply didn’t need to happen.

“There are policies in place, use of force policies dealing with inmates, and those have to be followed,” Romines said.

He said he’ll be filing suit right after the first of the year. He also said he was under the impression the investigation was ongoing.

Knox said the investigation is closed.

She suspended Stottman for five days without pay, and he is back on the job. Stottman’s supervisor and another officer who did not report the incident were suspended for three days with pay and are also back to work.

No criminal charges have been filed.