Recorded on police body cam video, a Virginia police officer was recently convicted of assault and battery during an arrest. Although the officer had been sentenced to 12 months in prison, his sentence was suspended.
On March 3, Charlottesville Police Officer Jeffrey Jaeger and two other officers responded to a verbal argument on Prospect Avenue. According to police body cam footage, Officer Jaeger initiated contact with Andre Henderson by suddenly grabbing Henderson, who was standing still.
Despite the fact that Henderson was not resisting, Jaeger dragged him several feet before slamming his head into a fenced enclosure. The impact caused a laceration and swelling on Henderson’s forehead.
After the body cam footage was reviewed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, Jaeger was indicted on assault and battery charges for attacking Henderson without legal justification. On Friday, Judge Theresa Carter ruled that Jaeger used excessive and unreasonable force during Henderson’s arrest.
“Those we entrust with a badge and charge with keeping our community safe must reflect the best of us. Unfortunately, that standard was not met in this instance,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania in a press release. “Our community and our criminal justice system rely on the integrity of police officers and we must hold accountable those who abuse their positions of power and trust. But the acts of one should also not reflect on the ethical and professional conduct of the rest of the committed public servants in the Charlottesville Police Department.”
Although Jaeger was sentenced to 12 months in prison, the judge decided to suspend that prison time. Instead, Jaeger will only serve two years on unsupervised probation.
Jaeger has already filed an appeal to overturn his conviction and reportedly remains on administrative leave without pay.