Russell Co. Sheriff’s Deputy arrested, fired for allegedly choking inmate

Russell Co. Sheriff’s Deputy arrested, fired for allegedly choking inmate
(Source: Russell County Sheriff's Office)

RUSSELL CO.,Ala. (WTVM) - A Russell County deputy is out of a job and now facing charges, after what the Sheriff called a use of excessive force with an inmate.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said it’s always difficult when one of their own breaks the law.

“It’s never positive to have to arrest one of your own officers, but we’re not going to put up with that type of behavior and that type of demeanor and attitude in this office,” he said.

That behavior: grabbing an inmate, pushing him up against the wall and choking him, according to the Taylor.

A former Russell County deputy, 48-year-old Stephon Lopez Parker, is accused of doing all those things, and it was all caught on a security camera.

“There are many many instances where we have to put our hands on inmates, people we’re going after, people we’re arresting," Sheriff Taylor said. "But you have to be justified and right when you do that. This was not.”

While the footage has not been released yet, the alleged incident happened Friday while Parker was transferring an inmate from inside the Russell County Judicial Center to the van to return to the jail.

“It’s tough for me to say why he did what he did," Sheriff Taylor said. "But I will say the inmate called him some profanity-type names.”

Now, the deputy - fired and arrested Monday - is facing a third degree assault charge, which is a misdemeanor.

“This was out of the ordinary,” Sheriff Taylor said. “This was out of the ordinary for Mr. Parker’s even own behavior.”

According to Taylor, the inmate didn’t have any injuries after the incident, and Taylor is working on having him transferred to the Lee County Jail for his own safety.

Parker has been with the Russell County Sheriff’s Office since 2015. He is a retired Army veteran. Taylor said Parker is making bond.

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