DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A DeKalb County detention officer fired and arrested for striking an inmate, told Channel 2 Action News that his actions were justified.
"I struck him to gain control so that he wouldn't spit again or run out. And that was the only time I struck him," former DeKalb County detention officer Stanci Clayton told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman.
Clayton was fired shortly after an altercation at the DeKalb County Jail involving an inmate on Nov 11.
Clayton contends the inmate, Marcus Blanton, who was in jail on a marijuana charges, was acting unruly during his detention.
Clayton said shortly after he removed the inmate's socks and shoes, Blanton spat blood at him.
"He stood up. He said, 'Clayton, I will spit in your (expletive),' and he spit blood on me," Clayton said.
Clayton admits to striking the inmate once while he was handcuffed.
Surveillance video shows several officers trying to restrain Clayton from going back into the cell. At one point, it appears Clayton slammed a female officer to the ground.
Blanton told Channel 2's Erica Byfield a slightly different version of the events in November. Blanton said he asked Clayton if he could use the phone.
"He said, '(expletive) your phone call,' and I said something about his mother," Blanton said.
Blanton was handcuffed at the time.
He said after his remark, Clayton struck him twice in the mouth.
"All the blood that was in my mouth, I spit in his face," Blanton said.
But Clayton said he only struck the inmate after he was spit on.
"He was still a threat. He was still spitting, he was still kicking," Clayton said.
After other officers arrived at the scene, another officer stunned
Blanton, who appeared to be still handcuffed, with a Taser.
DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown said he was disappointed by Clayton's actions.
"He has ruined his career in public safety," Brown said.
Clayton believes his arrest and disciplinary action were unwarranted.
"They did it from certain parts of the video, that no one can tell what is going on. You see multiple officers going to the scene," said Shannon Briley Holmes, Clayton's attorney.
"I want my name to be cleared. I want a full investigation," Clayton told Stockman.
Lt. Kyle Jones, a representative for the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office, said they are standing by their internal criminal investigation.
"The video speaks for itself," Jones said.
The Sheriff's Office is investigating other officers involved in the altercation, but so far no other disciplinary actions have been taken.