Video shows Elmore County jailer shoving inmate into wall
MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (KBOI) -- Jail surveillance video obtained by KBOI 2News shows an Elmore County deputy shoving an inmate off her feet -- causing her body and head to hit the wall.
On Friday, the Idaho Attorney General says the deputy, Sgt. Tom Robison, was sentenced to five days in jail or 100 hours of community service for pushing the inmate.
But that's not the entire story.
Former Elmore County deputy Jason Mittleider was there that night, back in December 2012.
The 32-year-old was a jailer on duty the night a woman, who we'll call "Emily," was yelling at jailers after being arrested.
"If an inmate is upset, the first thing we (do) is standard operating procedure (which) was to shut the door and let them cool down," Mittleider said. "In this case, he chose not to do that."
Mittleider is referring to Sgt. Tom Robison of the Elmore County Sheriff's Office, who was seen on a December 2012 surveillance video pushing Emily in her cell off her feet -- causing her body and head to hit the back wall.
"He's instructing her to sit down, she goes and pushes the intercom, he pushes her across the cell," Mittleider said. "Another deputy comes to respond and then I come in and I gain control of the inmate and turn her around and restrain her."
After her body hit the wall, Emily was seen sitting down, rocking back and forth.
According to department policy, "The staff person using physical force and the inmate against whom force was used will receive immediate medical attention."
But Emily, who defense attorneys say was not seriously hurt, doesn't see a doctor for another three hours.
"She absolutely (was crying)," Mittleider said.
After a couple of days, Mittleider, a current soldier in the Army National Guard, reported what happened to his Captain.
KBOI 2News obtained the court file and it shows that Capt. Lynn McCallum told investigators that he had talked to the Sergeant but didn't think it was a big deal and didn't file a report as required by policy.
The captain stated in the court docs that the sergeant did not purposely shove the inmate and these situations are common and nothing was done.
About three weeks later, Mittleider went up the chain, contacting Elmore County investigators. During that same time, court records show Robison showed the video to several jailers. One deputy stated he told her something to the effect of "you need to do that from time to time to get them to shut up."
"This is something he did several times over the following weeks, showing people this video -- he thought it was funny," Mittleider said.
But that's not what Robison told investigators.
In court documents, he told the investigator on Feb. 6, 2013 that "Emily was refusing to follow his commands and in order to get her to sit down, he felt it was necessary to assist her in sitting down."
In that same interview, Robison said..."The reason Emily flew back so far was because he was trying to catch his balance and when he started going forward, he ended up losing his balance...."
Soon after the investigation ended, Robison and his supervisor, Capt. McCallum were placed on leave.
A few weeks later, Mittleider lost his job. He believes he was fired for being a whistleblower, however, Elmore County officially fired him for swearing.
"Using profanity in the jail," he said.
The following Monday, after he was fired, Sgt. Robison was back at work.
"He still works there and I don't," Mittleider said.
On Friday, the Idaho Attorney General said Robison pleaded guilty to a reduced misdemeanor disturbing the peace charge and was sentenced to five days in jail or 100 hours of community service. Robison can choose which punishment to take. By pleading guilty, he admitted to pushing the inmate, the Idaho AG says.
The court placed Robison on probation for one year and granted a withheld judgment.
Robison declined to comment to KBOI 2News, however, his attorney, Joe Filicetti, says there's more to the story that isn't on the video.
"The problem in this case is the video is just one little picture, one little portion of what happened. It doesn't show her kicking and screaming, combative with other deputies as she's coming down the hall and she has a long history doing this and a long history of assaults on law enforcement officers," Filicetti said.
Mittleider loved his job as a jailer, but is jaded about how it all turned out.
"I have nothing but respect for what they do, but I think I am ready to move on with my life," he said.
Emily has pages and pages of convictions on her record, including battery on an officer and violating a no contact order.
KBOI 2News tried contacting her several times but never heard back.
Sergeant Robison was reduced to the rank of deputy following this investigation and still works for the sheriff's office.
Watch the raw video below:
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