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Deputies Involved in Michael Ajibade’s Death Receive Light Sentences

Matt AjibadeTwo Georgia deputies who were involved in the jailhouse death of Nigerian student Michael Ajibade have both received light sentences, according to Reuters.

Court officials said former deputy Jason Kenny was sentenced to one month in jail and three years probation after being convicted of cruelty to an inmate. He will get to serve his sentence on weekends. Former deputy Maxine Evans received six years of probation for public records fraud and three counts of perjury for providing false grand jury testimony. Greg Brown, a former nurse, also received a three-year suspended sentence for making a false statement.

Both deputies were found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, after a coroner reported Ajibade had died from blunt force trauma. Prosecutors claimed the deputies’ violation of jailhouse policies and procedures had contributed to Ajibade’s death.

Ajibade, an artist and computer science student, was arrested by police after he suffered a manic episode caused by a bipolar disorder. His girlfriend told the police about his condition, but he was taken to jail instead of hospital.

Ajibade’s struggle with police left a deputy with a broken nose. Jailhouse video showed he was stripped to his underwear, restrained and repeatedly shocked in the groin with a Taser. According to The Daily Mail, deputies also punched and kicked Ajibade in the head. He was left in restraints for more than a hour, before he was found dead.

In courtroom testimony, retired Lt. Debra Johnson, who was watch commander that night, told jurors she heard Evans say, “She got busy and forget to check on him.” Reuters reported nine deputies were fired in the aftermath of Ajibade’s death. Ajibade’s family members said high-ranking law enforcement officials needed to be held responsible, not low-ranking deputies.

“Whatever sentence is handed down here today makes no difference,” said Chris Oladapo, Ajibade’s cousin, in a written statement. “These three people are just pawns, and those in leadership most culpable will be left unpunished.”

The Ajibade family is being represented by Florida-based attorney Mark O’Mara in a separate civil suit. O’Mara also successfully defended George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.

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