PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Video obtained by 10 On Your Side shows the moment in which a former Hampton Roads Regional Jail inmate says he was choked by a jail officer.
Johnnie Simmons says the alleged assault happened on Feb. 8, 2019, when he complained to Master Jail Officer Robert Whitaker about problems with other inmates in the facility.
He says Whitaker choked him to the point where he passed out and urinated on himself.
Whitaker is facing one count of felony strangulation and one count of assault and battery.
“I was handcuffed and sat down on the floor and said, ‘Please move me,’” Simmons previously told 10 On Your Side.
Simmons says it all started when he told Whitaker that other inmates were spitting in his food.
When Simmons wouldn’t return to his jail pod, he says Whitaker pinned him to the ground.
“He took me away from the other officers, and he’s choking me and said ‘Are you going to comply?’” Simmons said. “I tried to say ‘yes.’ I tried to say ‘I can’t breathe.’”
Whitaker, whose attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment, has not worked for the jail for the last two years. Court paperwork describes him as “polite and cooperative.”
Whitaker is set to stand trial on September 13.