Chief fired after videotaped prank on mentally disabled teen

Published: Feb. 24, 2012 at 2:37 AM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2012 at 3:51 AM CST
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(WMC-TV) - A Mid-South police chief was fired after he and other officers were caught on camera abusing a mentally disabled teen with cinnamon and boxing on city property.

A video shot by a Tutwiler city official in city hall shows 18-year-old Cortez Martin, ordered to do community service for a misdemeanor.

"I have never seen anything or heard of anything where someone was doing something like this to a mentally challenged person," said Clarksdale attorney Ellis Pittman.

Tutwiler is a town of about 1,300 not far from Clarksdale.

In the video, a city worker pours cinnamon down Martin's throat for something called "the cinnamon challenge."

It did not take long for Martin to cough up the cinnamon, as the group roared with laughter.  Martin then runs for water and then into the bathroom, where he appears to vomit all while people are laughing.

"This is just sickening," said Pittman.

On a separate occasion, Pittman said another video was shot by a police officer of Martin being challenged to a boxing match with another officer.

The video shows former Tutwiler police officer Jimmy Johnson hitting Martin in the head several times as the officer shooting the video laughs.

In the video, Martin is knocked down a few times.

The teen said he wanted to continue.  Then, Johnson hit Martin so hard he fell to the floor.

The town of Tutwiler fired officers Johnson and Bobby Banks, Police Chief Terry Tyler, the town clerk, and another employee.

PIttman said there is also supposed to be video of officers paying Martin five dollars to use a taser on him.  The district attorney and FBI are investigating.

Officials in Tutwiler were not available for comment.

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