LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For anyone who approaches the Hall of Justice in Louisville after 4 p.m., they’re met with chains across closed, locked doors.
Kejohn Jennings claims he was met with pepper spray Friday afternoon.
The protester now plans on suing the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office after he says he was pepper-sprayed in the eyes by a deputy outside of the Hall of Justice. His attorney is also calling for that deputy to be prosecuted.
The conflict was recorded and has been circulating around social media.
”There’s no way to justify any use of force on Mr. Jennings. Period,” Jennings’ attorney David Mour said, “Much less spraying him in the eyes with a chemical agent, which is just unlawful, a violation of the sheriff’s department policy, unethical, immoral, amoral, inhumane.”
Mour explained to WAVE 3 News on Tuesday that his client was reportedly asking to use the restroom inside the Hall of Justice, which is normally open 24/7, on Friday. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, however, has been closing the doors to the building after business hours due to safety concerns with demonstrators downtown.
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s office reported that Jennings was told he couldn’t go inside the building several times by deputies on Friday but that he continued to rattle the door to get in.
”If he’s yelling and hollering or whatever, just shut the door,” Mour said. “Actually, they did shut the door, and then another deputy came back out, which apparently was Major Grissom and did what he did.”
Mour is referring to JCSO Major George Grissom, the deputy that is accused of pepper-spraying Jennings in the eyes. Besides a few curse words, Mour says Jennings posed no threat that would warrant that use of force from a law enforcement officer.
”That was a total ‘Screw you, buddy’ move. ‘You’re still yelling at me? Here I come, and guess what I’m going to do,’” Mour said. “You can see the major, who is holding it [the pepper spray] down, and then he brings it up real quick and sprays him right in the eyes because he wanted a surprise.”
Mour, whose daughter was injured falling from stairs in a parking garage in a confrontation between police and protesters last week, also wrote a letter to the Sheriff, asking for Grissom to be charged with assault.
”Personally, I feel like that type of assault warrants termination,” Mour said. “If a police officer is that thin-skinned that somebody is going to call him names, and that’s the way he’s going to react to that, in my opinion, that officer puts us all at risk in our community. He’s a danger to our community.”
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident and says there is much more to what happened than what the video circulating online shows. A spokesperson said deputies could have arrested Jennings but did not, adding that there have frequently been protesters throwing things at deputies and trying to get into the Hall of Justice. They also explained there are still prisoners in the building and people working late after the front doors are closed.