ATLANTA — A Georgia inmate who was hospitalized after he was beaten while handcuffed is claiming in federal court that the “deliberate, sadistic and malicious” attack by prison guards was part of a broader pattern of illegal conduct by authorities.
The lawsuit filed by Terrance Dean’s lawyers this week in U.S. District Court said that Macon State Prison routinely took handcuffed inmates on a “walk” to a gymnasium without video surveillance to “calm them down” by brutally beating them.
It said that’s what happened to Dean in December 2010 after he got into an argument with an officer. Guards dragged him to the gym, handcuffed him behind his back and attacked him until he slipped into a coma, the complaint said. Dean is still suffering from brain injuries and physical problems, it said.
The seven guards involved no longer work for the prison. They faced charges of aggravated battery and violation of oath of office in connection with the beating, but a Macon County grand jury last year declined to indict them.
Authorities investigated Dean’s beating last year amid reports that guards attacked inmates near the end of a protest seeking better work and living conditions at the Macon prison and several others around the state.
The former guards named in the lawsuit are: Kerry Bolden, Darren Douglass, Christopher Hall, Ronald Lach, Willie Redden, Delton Rushin and Derrick Wimbush. The lawsuit also names James Hinton, the prison’s deputy warden, and Kevin Davis, a prison supervisor.
Attempts to reach several of the men were unsuccessful and the Georgia Department of Corrections declined to comment on the pending litigation.
The altercation began Dec. 16, 2010, when Dean and an officer got into a fight. Members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team rushed to help, dragging him to the gym to beat him, the lawsuit said.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation officers questioned the guards after the attack, the lawsuit said, and they responded with a mix of emotions. One guard told police Dean “got what he deserved” while others said the fighting in the “dog pile” went too far.
Dean, who is serving a 16-year prison sentence for armed robbery, was diagnosed with acute brain injury after the attack, his lawyer Mario Williams said. He struggles to write, suffers from fatigue in his arms and legs, has to wear a brace on his foot and takes seizure medicine three times a day, he said.
“The United States Constitution has long held that beating an inmate while he’s handcuffed and nonresistant is a violation from his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment,” said Williams.