Sheriff releases video of fatal jailhouse struggle

Struggle began during 90 second gap in footage

A Sangamon County jail video released today provides no clear view of an inmate struggling with jailers and being tased before losing consciousness on April 27, when he was pronounced dead after being rushed to a hospital.

There is a 90-second gap in footage from a camera aimed down a corridor that gives a view of the area outside Jaimeson D. Cody’s cell. The struggle just outside the cell began during the gap in footage. Guards are standing, as if there is no emergency, when the gap begins; when footage resumes, they’re on the floor outside the cell. It’s not clear from grainy footage whether Cody, who was 39, is struggling then, but the camera shows guards starting first aid within a minute. None of three other cameras show as clear a view of the corridor outside Cody’s cell, where the struggle unfolded, as the camera with a gap in footage.
click to enlarge Jailers opening door to Cody's cell. - SANGAMON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
Sangamon County sheriff's office
Jailers opening door to Cody's cell.

Sheriff Jack Campbell has said he won’t comment on Cody’s death, and he did not respond to a request from Illinois Times to discuss the gap in footage. Illinois State Police are investigating the death.

Footage released by the sheriff’s office, including video from a camera that shows the inside of Cody’s cell, doesn’t show guards entering the cell. The sheriff’s office in a press release issued shortly after the death says that Cody fought with jailers when they entered his cell to determine whether he needed medical attention and that he became unresponsive after being handcuffed. “Officers attempted to determine if the subject had any injuries by talking to him and eventually entering the cell,” the sheriff’s office says in the press release issued April 28. The sheriff’s office has said that Cody was tased on his legs.


Videos released today show a guard talking to Cody from outside his cell 16 minutes before the struggle. Cody has blood on his clothing. Blood is visible on a low wall resembling a shelf that separates a toilet from the cell window and offers inmates privacy. At one point, Cody raises both hands. He gestures toward the low wall with blood on it. There is no audio, but after appearing to speak with Cody for less than two minutes, the guard departs. A few minutes later, another guard walks past the cell without stopping. Nine minutes after the guard who spoke with Cody departs, another guard arrives and appears to speak with Cody again. Another guard appears, as does a civilian in scrubs – the sheriff’s department says that medical personnel were present.

A corridor camera shows jailers appear to pull Cody from his cell and push him. A guard appears to pull a weapon from his belt and aim it in Cody’s direction, but the inmate isn’t visible after his initial contact with jailers due to a wall between the camera and the area where Cody hit the floor. The corridor camera with a gap in footage might have shown Cody as he was being tased, but for the gap.

Contact Bruce Rushton at brushton@illinoistimes.com.

Here is footage from camera with the 90 second gap. The the gap occurs at the 12:25 mark.


Here is video of Cody speaking with jailers from inside his cell prior to the struggle. The sheriff's office says that guards entered Cody's cell. The initial conversation occurs at the 29:39 mark. The door to Cody's cell opens at the 44:47 mark.



Here is footage from a camera showing the start of the struggle, which begins at the 2:05  mark.

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