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Former Inmates File Class Action Lawsuit Against Abilene Jail

Aug 27th, 2012 | Category: Lead Article, Taylor County

By Celinda Emison, May 24, 2011, Abilene Reporter News

A  class-action lawsuit targeting Taylor County Sheriff Les Bruce and other jail employees has been filed in federal court by several former inmates and the families of two inmates who died at the county jail.

The suit alleges that inmates were routinely denied medical treatment and were punished for showing ongoing medical problems. The suit also claims that at least two of the former inmates suffered permanent damage from the mistreatment and two others died after their medical conditions were ignored or neglected by jail staff.

The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Abilene.

The suit names Philip Devon Deen and Westley Allen Freeman and the families of Marcus Marsh and Ernest Baca as plaintiffs. Les Bruce and employees of the Taylor County Jail were named as defendants.

Deen claims to have suffered a broken back at the hands of jailers, the suit alleges, and now suffers from a permanent injury due to abuse and neglect by jail staff.

Freeman reportedly attempted suicide multiple times while he was in jail in May 2009 and the suit alleges he was not provided medical care and was punished by jail staff as a result.

Marsh died Sept. 13, 2009, after he was found lying in his cell unresponsive, the suit contends. Family members also allege Marsh was found with bruises and cuts on his face, according to the lawsuit.

Baca died from a brain aneurysm March 4, court documents show. The suit contends that Baca’s cellmate repeatedly rang the “emergency call” button in the cell but no one responded. He was taken to Hendrick Medical Center where he was pronounced brain-dead. While Baca was at Hendrick Medical Center, his family alleged he was abused at the jail after noticing bruises on his knees and foot, bruises on his eye and wrist and cuts on his arm.

The suit alleges that Bruce’s policies and practices deprived all of the plaintiffs “of reasonable medical care and resulted in an impermissible punishment of these pretrial detainees in violation of their substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment for the United States Constitution.” The suit also contends jail employees committed civil rights violations.

The lawsuit filed by Dallas attorney Jay C. English, seeks damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish, physical impairment as well as damages for medical expenses and lost income for the plaintiffs.

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My son is being denied medical attention in the Abilene jail now
5 years ago

My son was also knocked unconcious by a APD officer and has a black eye . Now he is being denied medical treatment for asthma. He needs help.

Jamison Riddle

I was severely beaten by APD and denied medical treatment by Taylor County Jail. You can clearly see the officers boot print across my throat in my mugshot, blacked eyes, broken nose, and bleeding from my right eyeball. I’m in contact with attorneys now and they are wanting more people to come forward who are victims or witnesses to the abuse and neglect of TCJ and the APD. Of anyone is willing to jump on board please contact me!