Waiting for Justice: The Bert Brunson Story - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Waiting for Justice: The Bert Brunson Story

Pat Brunson-Ware has spent everyday of the last 17 years at the side of her only child, Bert.

"I cry fresh tears daily," she said in a recent interview. "I grieve daily."

Bert Brunson is in a persistent vegetative state - awake, but unaware.  Still, his mother believes Bert knows she's there.

"I'm going to hold on to the fact he knows my touch and he hears me, and I'm going to just defy the doctors because I'm his mother," she said. "That's my hope when I talk to him he responds."

The injuries that put Bert Brunson in his current state date back to 1991, and an incident involving a rookie cop and three other officers with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

That rookie was Chris Jones.

"He was stopped supposedly for a traffic violation and ended up in some kind of altercation with law enforcement and here we are," Brunson said.

According to reports, the officers - including Chris Jones - were transporting Brunson to jail when he said he had to go to the bathroom. They stopped let him do that, but say he tried to grab one of the officer's guns and run away.

Attorneys say the officers then hit Brunson in the head with night sticks, hog-tied him, and placed him face down in the back seat of a cruiser, cutting off his oxygen supply.

He's been in a vegetative state ever since.

The officers were relieved of duty with pay, but never charged criminally.

That's not the case this time.  Deputy Chris Jones is charged with murder and attempted murder in connection to two shootings at the Windjammer Restaurant and Lounge in Memphis last March.

Investigators say Jones got into a fight with a man over a parking spot.  Deejay Donald Munsey was trying to break up the fight when investigators say Jones shot and killed Munsey, and wounded the other man.

The case brought back painful memories for Pat Brunson-Ware.

"I thought about it in terms of justice or some resemblance of justice," she said. "If this guy - here he is again committing a criminal act - maybe this time, perhaps, something will be done to take him off the street."

For now, Chris Jones is in jail, held on a half-million dollars bond. It's something that offers little consolation to the mother of Bert Brunson.

"I won't say it's too little too late," she said. "I would just say in some small way, Bert will still have a small amount of justice to occur for whatever fate lies before Chris Jones."

Pat Brunson-Ware filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of her son and received the largest settlement ever involving law enforcement officers in Shelby County: $3.5 million.  She uses that money to care for Bert, and hopes someday he will be able to use the money himself.

As for Deputy Jones, his most recent review shows he exceeded sheriff's department expectations.  A judge has ordered him to undergo a mental evaluation before his next court date.


Click here to send an email to Janice Broach.

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