MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH)—A Delaware County Jail officer is on paid leave as his department investigates why he drew a gun and threatened a man Tuesday morning. The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office said they are also asking Indiana State Police to investigate.
A witness posted a video of the incident to Twitter.
Muncie Police, who responded to the scene, said jail officer Jerry Shaner’s daughter said a man was peeking into her windows and walking around her house. A neighbor said the man was trying to open car doors, according to police.
In the video, Shaner can be heard yelling “put your hands behind your back.” He is seen placing his foot on the back of Kenny Watkins.
“You picked the wrong (expletive) house to try to get into,” Shaner yells. “Turn over.”
A sheriff’s spokesperson said Shaner drew both a taser and a gun. Shaner threatened to tase Watkins, but he didn’t stop there.
“You move, your brains are going to be all over this (expletive) pavement. You understand me?” Shaner said.
When police showed up, Shaner told an officer Watkins tried to get into his house and his daughter’s car, but Muncie Police let Watkins go, saying there was no evidence of a crime.
Muncie Chief of Police Joe Winkle said his officers are familiar with Watkins, and he suffers from mental health issues.
“He wasn’t arrested because he wasn’t trying to get into the house,” Winkle said. “The worst thing he did was maybe trespass, but we don’t know if he was at the wrong house. We’re not sure exactly what was going on.”
Watkins’ family confirmed he has mental health issues.
Kenny’s mother, Nicole Watkins, said Shaner should lose his job and face charges. The family plans to sue.
“This will not be tolerated. I want his job. This is not okay,” Nicole said. “This is my son. I love him.”
Kenny said he was only walking around the neighborhood.
“I didn’t try to break into his daughter’s house or the car,” Kenny said.
The family visited Muncie City Hall Wednesday to meet with the Muncie Human Rights Commission. The commission’s director, Yvonne Thompson, said she will file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“I’m just glad the situation didn’t get worse,” Thompson said. “It looked like it. Very scary.”
The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office released a statement saying they are investigating.
While all the facts surrounding the case remain unclear, the Sheriff’s Office is committed to upholding the public’s trust as well as requiring the highest level of professionalism from our personnel.
We are taking this matter seriously and will gather all relevant facts before making any determination or further statements.”
24-Hour News 8 tried to reach Shaner at home, but his number is not publicly listed.