News

Representing Family of Man Killed by Deputies in Marion County Jail

Our firm, alongside Slater Legal PLLC, has filed suit against Sheriff Billy Woods, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), and six deputies on behalf of the family of a man who died after he was repeatedly pepper sprayed and Tasered in his cell at the Marion County Jail.

46-year-old Scott “Scotty” Whitley, III had a known history of mental illness that was recognized by MCSO, including a diagnosed history of schizophrenia. Despite this, after he was booked at the Marion County Jail on November 16, 2022, on charges of resisting arrest, he was eventually placed in confinement, completely nude and with only a plain concrete slab to sleep on.

On the morning of November 25, deputies entered Scotty’s cell to perform an inspection. After a series of events caught on camera, the deputies sprayed Scotty in the face with pepper spray, brought him to the ground, and repeatedly Tasered him—even as he complied with their requests, retreated, and ultimately pleaded for help.

After more pepper spray was administered, Scotty lay on the ground, motionless. He was dragged out of his cell on his stomach and deputies realized he was not breathing.

Scotty did not survive the ordeal.

We intend to hold Sheriff Billy Woods, MCSO, and the deputies involved accountable for Scotty’s death. We assert that MCSO, through Sheriff Billy Woods, had a duty to use reasonable care to ensure Scotty’s well-being and safety while he was in custody. MCSO not only failed to uphold this duty but violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. We further assert that the six deputies involved in the attack violated the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by using excessive force against Scotty.

This marks the third lawsuit against Sheriff Billy Woods since this July for wrongful conduct at the Marion County Jail. The two other lawsuits both allege failures by MSCO deputies to intervene or provide reasonable care to inmates.

Our goal is to demand justice for Scotty’s family and to push for systematic reform at the jail.