Mentally Ill Former Inmate Alleges Abuse by Deputies

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    A mentally ill former inmate at LA’s Men’s Central Jail filed a civil rights lawsuit on Wednesday, alleging he was beaten by deputies while incarcerated. The case is the latest in a string of several abuse allegations at the jail. Conan Nolan reports from downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. (Published Wednesday, May 7, 2014)

    A mentally ill former inmate at Men’s Central Jail filed a civil rights lawsuit Wednesday claiming he was beaten by deputies at the facility.

    The alleged violence took place in Feb. 2009 following the incarceration of Bret Phillips, 43, who was brought in on a parole violation. During a dispute with deputies, Phillips’ hands were allegedly cuffed and his feet were shackled as he was beaten.

    “The deputy also struck Bret with a flashlight,” Phillips’ attorney, Gloria Allred, said during a news conference announcing the suit.

    The lawsuit calls on Chaplain Paulino Juarez, who allegedly saw the altercation.

    “They started kicking him on the head and the body,” Juarez said in a YouTube video produced by the American Civil Liberties Union. “They were saying ‘stop fighting, stop fighting.’ He wasn’t fighting.”

    Allred would not comment on how much in damages is being sought in the lawsuit, but Phillips’ caretaker said he hasn’t been the same since the incident.

    “He loses sleep most nights and suffers frequent nightmares about what happened,” Christine Chopurian said. “I have also noticed night tremors, seizures and night sweats that he had never had had before the beating.”

    The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has pleaded not guilty in federal court to allegations of widespread inmate abuse over the last several years.

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