A New Orleans police officer who beat a bipolar 16-year-old female inmate with shackles is not facing criminal charges for his actions.
Video of the beating was released Wednesday by the Office of the Independent Police Monitor, and posted by the New Orleans Advocate and other local media. Officer Terrance Saulny was fired last month for the incident, which took place in September, but he has not been charged.
The cell surveillance video shows Saulny arriving at the girl's cell in the city juvenile detention center to put shackles on her. She appears to talk to him (there's no sound in the video) and then he gets angry, pushing her to the ground and hitting her at least twice with the shackles before another officer comes in. The two get on top of her and shackle her arms and legs before leaving.
The girl, whose name is not being released, was bruised on her lip and had a small cut on her chest, the Advocate reported, but wasn't seriously injured. Deputy Police Monitor Simone Levine said in a statement that her office released the video in order to “provide a level of transparency to the City of New Orleans so that people will know what is happening in their police department."
According to Saulny, the girl, who was arrested by police for stealing a purse and resisting arrest, was yelling profanities at him. He was fired for using excessive force, and his lawyer, Ted Alpaugh, told Fusion that Saulny is appealing that decision.
Tyler Gamble, a Police Department spokesman, told the Advocate that the department “determined there was not enough probable cause that a crime was committed” for an arrest.
Although specific data is hard to find, people with mental illnesses are more likely to be subject to police brutality: More than 40 percent of those shot by police in Maine since 1990 were mentally ill, according to a Portland Press Herald investigation. "Because we lack proper facilities, funding, and a basic understanding of mental illness, we treat persons with mental disorders like criminals," Linda Teplin, a Northwestern University professor of psychology, wrote last year.
Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.