Louis Jackson Injured After Being Repeatedly Kicked In The Head By Merced County Sheriff’s Sergeant Dustin Witt During Investigation For DUI-Related Accident

MERCED COUNTY, CALIFORNIA (August 17, 2023) – Louis Jackson was viciously attacked by a Merced County Sheriff’s Sergeant Dustin Witt during a traffic stop.

The assault has led to the arrest of 42-year-old former Merced County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Dustin Witt. Louis Jackson was being detained following a suspected DUI-related car accident.

Body camera footage of the incident showed two officers speaking with the victim before a verbal altercation ensued. One officer deployed their taser causing Louis Jackson to go limp on the ground.

He is then repeatedly kicked in the head by Sergeant Dustin Witt. The footage is frankly difficult to watch. The victim appears to regain consciousness about two minutes after the assault and is struggling to breathe.

Former Merced County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Dustin Witt has been charged with assault by a public officer and assault likely to cause great bodily harm. A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For Assaults By Police Officers

Far too many people are injured during encounters with law enforcement. According to the University of Illinois, Chicago, an estimated 250,000 civilian injuries are caused by law enforcement annually. More than 600 people are also killed by law enforcement each year. Black males in particular comprise 6.1% of the total population but make up about 24.9% of all persons killed by law enforcement. There are a number of measures that police departments should take in order to reduce the number of people injured or killed by the police.

  • Police should have their body cameras on when they interact with the public.
  • Police officers should get plenty of de-escalation training.
  • Certain chokeholds and strangleholds should be banned.
  • Police officers should be able to identify when a suspect is in the midst of a mental health crisis.

It is illegal for police officers to utilize excessive force during their work. Excessive force refers to any level of force in excess of what a police officer reasonably believes is necessary for a particular situation. A police officer could be liable for excessive force that is used during an arrest,  investigatory stop or any other seizure. Pursuant to 42 U.S. Code § 1983, every person who, under the color of any statute, causes a person to be deprived of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the injured party in an action of law. There are many ways that a police officer may have used excessive force.

  • A police officer may hit or otherwise injure a suspect when they are restrained.
  • A police officer may shoot or injure a suspect attempting to flee.
  • A police officer may shoot or injure a suspect that does not pose an imminent risk of harm.

There is no reason that a police officer should ever strike a suspect when they are already subdued. Unfortunately, some officers do not have the temperament or emotional stability to serve effectively as law enforcement. But they are able to become officers all the same. Any person that is injured due to the excessive force of a police officer may have legal recourse through a constitutional claim. A civil rights attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.


Investigating Assaults By Merced County Sheriff’s Sergeant

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our best wishes to Louis Jackson as he continues to recover. It is our sincere hope Merced County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Dustin Witt is held to account for his actions. This was a horrific and violent assault that should never have taken place.

Have you or someone that you care about been harmed by the excessive force of a Merced County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. Our team of civil rights advocates are here to help you in any way that we can. We focus on helping people who have been harmed by police abuses. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.

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