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County jail officials in Southern Indiana accused of abusing inmates

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A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of former inmates accuses officials at the Floyd County jail of forcibly stripping the inmates of their clothing and keeping them naked in a padded cell for prolonged periods of time in violation of their constitutional rights.

The complaint, Gentry et al. v. Floyd County, Indiana, et al., 4:14-cv-00054, was filed June 12 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana by Louisville attorney Laura Landenwich of Clay Daniel Walton & Adams PLC.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege the defendants forcibly removed their clothing without any suspicion or probable cause of any threat and security risk. The plaintiffs charge the defendants regularly exposed the detainees’ naked bodies to officers of the opposite sex and subjected their bodies to harmful and extremely offensive touching.

The plaintiffs described the defendants’ conduct as torture.

“Defendants’ treatment of Plaintiffs and other class members is intolerable in a civilized society, and presents a marked departure from the standard to which the Western world adheres for the treatment of prisoners of war during wartime, let alone the standards of acceptable treatment for American citizens on American soil,” the lawsuit states.

Tabitha Gentry and the three other named plaintiffs were all arrested separately between February 2013 and May 2014 on various misdemeanor charges such as public intoxication and disorderly conduct. After being arrested and taken to the county jail, each allege they had their shoes, pants, shirt, and underwear removed by the Floyd County Sheriff’s deputies and were given only a small blanket, called a “smock,” with which to cover themselves. Also, they were not allowed to use the restroom facilities, having instead to use a drain in the floor as a toilet.

The lawsuit accuses the jail employees of dispensing pepper spray into Gentry’s cell then forcing her to walk naked to and from a washing station in front of male officers and male inmates. The suit also alleges that a Taser was used on plaintiff Vincent Minton’s buttocks, and plaintiff Adam Walker was subjected to Taser use seven times and choked until he lost consciousness.

Plaintiffs assert that through the “intentional and grossly negligent conduct” of the defendants, they were deprived of their rights guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, Ninth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, the plaintiffs allege they have suffered “physical harm, emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation and mental anguish” as a result of the defendants not providing the proper training regarding unlawful searches, the reasonable use of force and the rights of detainees.

The lawsuit concludes that the plaintiffs and members of the class are entitled to both actual damages and punitive damages.

Moreover, the plaintiffs and the class requested the U.S. District Court to issue a declaratory judgment deeming unconstitutional all written policies and unwritten practices that subject detainees to these “humiliating and/or torturous practices” and to permanently enjoin the defendants from following or enforcing such policies and procedures.

 

 

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  1. Looks like 2017 will be another notable year for these cases. I have a Grandson involved in a CHINS case that should never have been. He and the whole family are being held hostage by CPS and the 'current mood' of the CPS caseworker. If the parents disagree with a decision, they are penalized. I, along with other were posting on Jasper County Online News, but all were quickly warned to remove posts. I totally understand that some children need these services, but in this case, it was mistakes, covered by coorcement of father to sign papers, lies and cover-ups. The most astonishing thing was within 2 weeks of this child being placed with CPS, a private adoption agency was asking questions regarding child's family in the area. I believe a photo that was taken by CPS manager at the very onset during the CHINS co-ocerment and the intent was to make money. I have even been warned not to post or speak to anyone regarding this case. Parents have completed all requirements, met foster parents, get visitation 2 days a week, and still the next court date is all the way out till May 1, which gives them(CPS) plenty of to time make further demands (which I expect) No trust of these 'seasoned' case managers, as I have already learned too much about their dirty little tricks. If they discover that I have posted here, I expect they will not be happy and penalized parents again. Still a Hostage.

  2. They say it was a court error, however they fail to mention A.R. was on the run from the law and was hiding. Thus why she didn't receive anything from her public defender. Step mom is filing again for adoption of the two boys she has raised. A.R. is a criminal with a serious heroin addiction. She filed this appeal MORE than 30 days after the final decision was made from prison. Report all the facts not just some.

  3. Hysteria? Really Ben? Tell the young lady reported on in the link below that worrying about the sexualizing of our children is mere hysteria. Such thinking is common in the Royal Order of Jesters and other running sex vacays in Thailand or Brazil ... like Indy's Jared Fogle. Those tempted to call such concerns mere histronics need to think on this: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-12-year-old-girl-live-streamed-her-suicide-it-took-two-weeks-for-facebook-to-take-the-video-down/ar-AAlT8ka?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=spartanntp

  4. This is happening so much. Even in 2016.2017. I hope the father sue for civil rights violation. I hope he sue as more are doing and even without a lawyer as pro-se, he got a good one here. God bless him.

  5. I whole-heartedly agree with Doug Church's comment, above. Indiana lawyers were especially fortunate to benefit from Tom Pyrz' leadership and foresight at a time when there has been unprecedented change in the legal profession. Consider how dramatically computer technology and its role in the practice of law have changed over the last 25 years. The impact of the great recession of 2008 dramatically changed the composition and structure of law firms across the country. Economic pressures altered what had long been a routine, robust annual recruitment process for law students and recent law school graduates. That has, in turn, impacted law school enrollment across the country, placing upward pressure on law school tuition. The internet continues to drive significant changes in the provision of legal services in both public and private sectors. The ISBA has worked to make quality legal representation accessible and affordable for all who need it and to raise general public understanding of Indiana laws and procedures. How difficult it would have been to tackle each of these issues without Tom's leadership. Tom has set the tone for positive change at the ISBA to meet the evolving practice needs of lawyers of all backgrounds and ages. He has led the organization with vision, patience, flexibility, commitment, thoughtfulness & even humor. He will, indeed, be a tough act to follow. Thank you, Tom, for all you've done and all the energy you've invested in making the ISBA an excellent, progressive, highly responsive, all-inclusive, respectful & respected professional association during his tenure there.

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