Video footage recorded on body cameras worn by a Warren County, VA, police officer appears to show that sheriff’s deputies lied about the circumstances of a traffic stop in which a 77-year-old man suffered a brain injury and later died.
The county Sheriff’s Office originally said that Ralph Ennis fell over the trailer hitch of his red pickup truck and struck his head on the camper top attached to his truck.
But as footage aired by Washington, DC, TV station NBC4 shows, deputies rushed the man in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven near Front Royal, VA, and then slammed him face-forward into the back of his truck and tackled him to the ground. Police have said Ennis failed to drop his keys and put his hands behind his back after exiting his vehicle.
Ennis, whose wife said he suffered from dementia, died 13 days later. The sheriff’s office originally said that the man had non-life threatening injuries as a result of the incident. Wife Linda Ennis said her husband was transported by medics to the hospital and was diagnosed with a brain bleed. He died April 15. She said he was the subject of a Silver Alert in mid-March as a result of his dementia.
Deputies had pulled him over for driving erratically and speeding. They assert he was driving 63 miles per hour in a 55 MPH zone.
In the video a deputy is heard yelling at Ennis to “get on the ground,” at which point officers rushed him and slammed him into the truck’s camper. A Front Royal police officer also can be heard saying in the body camera video, “That was … unjust and … un[expletive] called for.”
The Warren County Sheriff, Mark Butler, told News4 he stands by the initial statement his office released.
Watch the footage below or at this link.
FRPD Body Cam – Ralph Ennis
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