Inmate Dies After Injury During Altercation With Officer

A southern Kentucky man died of injuries suffered at the Adair County Jail during an encounter with a state trooper, according to a release by Kentucky State Police.

Billy Phillips, 53, of Columbia was arrested June 1 after being stopped on Kentucky 80 in Adair County, near the Adair-Russell County line, for driving under the influence, said Trooper Dwaine Barnett, a public affairs officer.

Phillips suffered a head injury at the Adair County Jail during an altercation with Trooper B.J. Burton and was taken to the Helipad at Westlake Regional Hospital, where he was transferred to the University of Kentucky Medical Center, Barnett said in a release.

"The accused lunged at Trooper Burton several times," Barnett said. "During the last altercation, Trooper Burton struck Mr. Phillips," he added. "Phillips then fell into the wall and onto the floor. During the course of the fall, Phillips either struck his head against the wall or the concrete floor," Barnett wrote.

Barnett said Phillips was handcuffed in the front of his body during the altercation at the jail.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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  • by Anonymous Location: Northern Kentucky on Jul 7, 2007 at 04:52 PM
    Handcuffed in front. Now how much does that restrict ones movements. Sounds like he was only given a metal weapon to swing at the officer. Remember the detectives who were almost killed in Louisvill by a man cuffed in the back after he got ahold of a knife and slid one of his cuffs up to his elbow. Have one of your friends cuff you in front and see how much damage you can cause to a punching bag with those cuffs. I guess it's the police officers fault that he was attacked. It also sounds like some feel that jail is a safe place where officers shouldn't worry about the attacks of prisoners. Have you ever been to jail. Please.
  • by John Location: Bowling Green on Jun 19, 2007 at 10:34 AM
    Pretty simple. Keep out of situations where this can happen. Apparently, that isn't all that easy to do for some people.
  • by neighbor Location: Adair county on Jun 9, 2007 at 07:53 AM
    If Bill was so out of control why was his hands in front? And who was responsible for Bill's safety?
  • by Kris Location: Ky on Jun 8, 2007 at 03:37 PM
    That man received the death penalty for D.U.I. Since when did the police earn the right to be judge jury and executioner?
  • by Melissa Location: Jamestown,Ky on Jun 8, 2007 at 03:35 PM
    The man was handcuffed and already in a jail cell. The cop had the option to simply lock him in the cell and leave him alone. I don't buy that whole "you dont know what you would do until youre in that situation"thing. I know I wouldnt beat someone that is handcuffed and no threat to me to death. People want to believe that police officers are always up and up and only do whats right. This is a shining example that is not always true.
  • by L Location: Ky on Jun 6, 2007 at 12:57 PM
    Anonymous from Somerset...since a police officers duty belt has so many weapons on it, like pepper spray, why was that not used instead of hitting the man. I guarantee that if he had pepper sprayed the man, the man would have been in terrible pain and not been worried about lunging at the trooper. Yes there is a problem with drugs and alcohol in the world but there is also a HUGE problem with corrupt and brutal law enforcement. The man was already in the jail and I know that most jails have a chair that can be used to strap down unruly prisoners. I just think that the trooper should have used better judgement. He has killed a man and should be charged with murder, regardless of whether the man was drunk or not. If I hit someone and they fell and hit their head and died, I would be charged with murder. But I guess if became a cop I could get away with anything too. And the story says that the man lunged at the trooper. He never struck him or tried to grab anything so how can he justify hitting that man without being hit first??? Sounds like assault gone wrong to me.
  • by Ken Location: Richmond on Jun 6, 2007 at 06:02 AM
    I know and am friends with quite a few police officers, retired police officers, state troopers and my brother in law is a retired police officer out of Miami FL. Before you judge the actions by law enforcement, please sit down with one or a couple of them and listen to their stories of what happens in the line of duty. Once you listen to the reality of what is out there on the streets, you will or should change your thinking on law enforcement. Sure, as in any profession, there are some bad ones but if you lump everyone in that category, your reasoning is skewed. Criminals will lie, fight, bite, kick and try to gain access to an officer's weapon more times than you may think. Before you want to pass judgement on law enforcement officials, step back and look at the big picture. My guess (from talking to my friends over the years) is the reason he was handcuffed in the front versus hands behind his back was due to the fact he was so intoxicated. If he were to stumble and fall, he could at least brace himself. Tell me a "rogue" cop will be that sensitive to someone who is intoxicated and hostile.
  • by mel Location: lex on Jun 6, 2007 at 05:14 AM
    Anonymous from Somerset...are you a cop? Because you nailed it on the head with your comment. Citizens have absolutely no way of knowing what they would do until they have to do it. Adrenaline can cause a perpetrator to become insanely strong and destructive and require several cops to restrain them at times. This is the way it is when you are pulled over or approached by a cop: cooperate with them. Fighting is futile because they have guns, and big sticks, and the number to call to get more people with guns and big sticks. I'm sorry for the family but I'm also glad that this man was taken off the street before someone was hurt and destroyed another family. I am curious about the front hand cuffing, though.
  • by Judy Location: Jamestown on Jun 5, 2007 at 08:42 PM
    This is so sad.I agree with most of you.What could this poor boy have done while being handcuffed.Something smells really stinky.I agree with what a croc,,,Oh by the way,Maybe the trooper picked up the wall and threw it at the poor boy.My heart goes out to the family to which I know.Im so sorry and Our prays will be with you.May god bless each of everyone one of you.I WOULD HAVE THE BIG BAD TROOPER INVESTIGATED.THIS SHOULD HAVE NEVER HAPPENED.
  • by Abby Location: Bowling Green on Jun 5, 2007 at 05:04 PM
    No one should die the way this man did. I don't agree with him drinking and driving but he sure didn't deserve this. I hope that thet people of Adair County make certain that this is investigated to the fullest because there is a history there of covers ups.
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