Lawsuit alleges civil rights violations while in custody

Published 02/13 2014 03:49PM

Updated 02/13 2014 05:42PM

SPRINGFIELD -- An ex-inmate says he was mistreated behind bars. Now, he's filing a lawsuit against guards at the Sangamon County Jail. The suit was filed in federal court Wednesday. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels has details of what the lawsuit alleges.

Richard Haley says, while he was serving time, he needed medical help, and instead, he claims guards attacked him. Earlier this year, Haley was sentenced to 90 days for domestic battery.

But, after serving the time, his legal dealings are far from over. He's taking two corrections officers and one sergeant from the Sangamon County Sheriff's Department to court over what he says is a civil rights violation in a lawsuit filed Wednesday. Haley says guards knew he had a seizure disorder.

"He told them he has epilepsy and is subject to uncontrollable seizures."

But, during an episode, the suit alleges staff used force on him.

"His cellmate called for medical help. Instead of taking him to the medical office, they instead ordered him to get up, something he really couldn't do and the guards treated that as some sort of an aggressive problem. They sprayed him with pepper spray and then, they shot at him with a taser; not once but twice."

Carl Draper is Haley's attorney.

"He was in his cell. He presented no risk to the guards. He simply needed medical care."

But, Draper says there's an even bigger issue at hand; whether his client was acting up or not, a taser should never have been used in the first place.

"All of the training that comes from the manufacturer of the taser gun warns law enforcement officials not to use the taser on people who have a serious medial problem."

The attorney for the county says the defendants have not yet been served with the complaint. Once that happens, they'll be able to comment.

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