Kenneth Johnson has been in a Davidson County Jail since July of 2017, yet on Friday night he was found with Fentanyl and tobacco in what many inmates refer to as their ‘prison pocket’, otherwise known as his anus.
Late Friday night inside a Nashville jail, DCSO Officers John Lepter & James Caraway were making their way to the F2 pod to retrieve 35-year-old inmate Kenneth Johnson, in order to conduct a strip search of his person. Lt Fielden had ordered the search, as he had received information the inmate was in possession of contraband, specifically “a mixture of Suboxone, tobacco, and a Fentanyl/heroin mixture”. Lepter escorted Johnson into a holding cell to perform a strip search, while Caraway prepared to gather Johnson’s belongings.
Lepter was in the holding cell, alone with inmate Johnson, and ordered him to remove all of his clothing, and then turn around, squat and cough. As Johnson the commands, Officer Lepter noticed a “little pink baggie” fall out from behind the inmate. Lepter ordered the inmate to step aside, and bent down to retrieve the baggie that had fallen from Johnson’s anus when he coughed. As Lepter reached for the contraband, inmate Johnson stepped on his hand, and grabbed onto him as he attempted to stand back up.
After a brief struggle, Lepter was able to regain head control, and brought the inmate to the ground. during this time, he was able to call a ‘CODE RED’ over the radio (Officer needs assistance), and several officers responded, including Jennifer Brown, Antonio Chambers, Jason Green, Brittany Easley, Alyssa Andrus, Sherwinn Bastien, and James Caraway.
At this point, the inmate was naked, face down, in a ‘felony prone’ position, as described by one of the responding officers. Brown says she observed Lt. Marcus Fielden arrive, and give the inmate multiple orders to spit the substance and baggie out of his mouth, and to unclench his butt cheeks, where there was still a bag visible part way out of his anus.
Officer Antonio Chambers also responded to the code red call, and says when he arrived, he noticed that Lepter was on the floor with the fully naked inmate, giving him directions to place his hands behind his back whiling having control of only one hand. Chambers immediately got to the floor and delivered a 2-3 second burst of ‘Freeze +P’ (chemical agent) to Johnson’s face, and then he noticed that Johnson was attempting to shove a bag further up his rectum.
“Chambers then sprayed multiple 2-3 second bursts of ‘Freeze +P’ chemical agent to the area of Johnson’s exposed anus, causing him to stop attempting to push the contraband back up into his body cavity.”
Once his hands were finally secured, Johnson was ordered to give officers everything in his possession from within his body. It was at that time that Chambers noticed the inmate was attempting to swallow something. Lt. Fielden gave a directive to deliver another 2-3 second burst of ‘Freeze +P’, and Chambers delivered multiple 2-3 second bursts to the inmates face. Lepter writes that Lt. Fielden ordered him to:
“spray him until he spits what he has in his mouth out”
Lepter notes in his report he complied with that order, and sprayed Johnson in the face with the chemical agent until he spit up what appeared to be a plastic bag with items that were not immediately identified. Fielden then removed one of the hand restraints and ordered the inmate to retrieve the plastic baggie from his anus, which he did.
Once the bags were retrieved and opened, officers say they found tobacco, Suboxone, and Fentanyl, as pictured below.
Johnson has been in jail since July of 2017, awaiting trial on a felony probation violation on a previous drug case. He now faces additional charges of contraband in a penal institution and assault of an officer, as well as internal charges of assault, contraband, possession, possessing property, disruptive behavior, staff assault, ID Violation, threatening behavior, refusal of direct order, violation of law, profiteering, unsanitary conditions, and smuggling.
You can read the account of each officer that responded in the incident reports below: