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PA Prisoner Awarded $300,000 in Guard Beating

On February 29, 2000, a federal jury in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania awarded Pennsylvania prisoner Raymond Pryer $300,000 in damages for a beating he suffered at the hands of prison guards. On September 27, 1990, Pryer complained that a guard at the State Correctional Institution-Pittsburgh had squeezed his buttocks during a pat search. As a result, prison guards Richard Siavec, Doyle Bursey, David Cook and Gerald Prorok beat Pryer on the head with batons, broke his hands, sprayed him with mace, shocked him with a stun gun, strip searched him and then beat him some more while he was naked. In 1992 Pryer filed suit claiming the beating violated his Eighth amendment rights.

In a trial for liability, with Pryer representing himself pro se, a jury found the guards liable for the unprovoked attack and held Pryer's Eighth amendment rights were violated. At the second trial, solely on the issue of damages, a jury awarded Pryer $300,000 in damages for the injuries he suffered in the attack. The jury rejected Pennsylvania senior deputy Attorney General Thomas Halloran's argument that they award Pryer only nominal damages for the attack. Pryer was represented at the damages trial by attorney Jere Krakoff of the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project.

Source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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Related legal case

Pryer v. Slavic