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  • mcprison mcprison Dec 18, 2001 7:47 PM Flag

    WHC sued for beating inmate

    The Associated Press State & Local Wire

    December 18, 2001, Tuesday, BC cycle

    6:14 PM Eastern Time

    SECTION: State and Regional

    LENGTH: 352 words

    HEADLINE: Inmate sues Wackenhut, state Corrections officials

    DATELINE: HOBBS, N.M.

    BODY:

    An inmate at a private prison at Hobbs is alleging his civil rights were
    violated when he was repeatedly kicked in the head in three years ago in a
    beating that resulted in the indictments of four former guards.

    The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in federal court in Santa Fe against Wackenhut
    Corp., which runs the Lea County Correctional Facility; Wackenhut officials; Lea
    County; and state correctional officers, including Corrections Secretary Rob
    Perry.

    The lawsuit alleges Wackenhut officials engaged in widespread violations of
    prisoners' civil rights and that Perry and other state corrections officials
    were aware of beatings and other uses of excess force, but took no meaningful
    steps to stop them.

    A spokeswoman for Wackenhut did not return a telephone call from The
    Associated Press seeking comment. Gerges Scott, a spokesman for the Corrections
    Department, said state officials could not comment because the lawsuit is
    pending.

    A federal indictment in May accused the four former guards of beating and
    kicking inmate Eric Duran while he was shackled on the floor, then trying to
    cover it up.

    Former guard Gary Butler of Hobbs and former prison Lt. William Fuller of
    Floresville, Texas, were accused of kicking Duran repeatedly in the head Dec.
    21, 1998. Former Lt. Matias Serrata Jr. of Beeville, Texas, was accused of doing
    nothing to stop the attack, while former guard Kendall Lipscomb was accused of
    false testimony.

    Butler also was accused of beating himself up so he could falsely blame Duran
    and justify the attack, the U.S. attorney's office said when the indictments
    were released.

    Duran's attorneys, Mark Donatelli and Robert Rothstein of Santa Fe, said
    Butler, in a sworn statement in August, admitted kicking Duran in the head with
    his boot while the inmate was fully restrained. They said Butler also admitted
    conspiring with the other guards to file false charges against Duran, to write
    false reports on the beating and to obstruct investigations.

    Donatelli has said Duran suffered permanent injuries that contributed to
    chronic headaches and impaired vision.

 
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