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Oklahoma Jailhouse Informants Settle Failure to Protect Suit for $80,000

Federal prisoners Curtis Sherfield and Hugh Grayson, who were being held at the Oklahoma County jail on federal drug charges, were given a total of $80,000 in December 2001 to settle their lawsuit against the county after they were beaten when other prisoners discovered the two were snitches.

The suit, filed in 1999, alleged that a person Sherfield had testified against was placed in Sherfield's unit by jail staff. According to court documents, three prisoners then forced open the lock on his cell door with a deodorant bottle and stomped on Sherfield's head. As a result of the attack, Sherfield suffered a broken jaw and chipped teeth.

Grayson was also assaulted by the same three men the next day, the suit alleged. Grayson said the men entered his cell when the guard was on break, and that the men attempted to strangle him. Grayson was not removed from the pod until three or four days later, at which point he was placed in protective custody. Grayson also alleged that he was assaulted again in July 2000, by another prisoner he had snitched on.

The two informants also claim that jail staff denied them adequate medical care following the attack. Sherfield said he only received ibuprofen and did not see a doctor until three days later.

Two weeks following the June 1999 attacks, the U.S. Marshals Service removed all federal prisoner from the jail, citing safety concerns due to the defective locks. The federal prisoners were returned in May 2000 after the locks were fixed.

Sherfield and Grayson were represented by attorney Aletia Timmons of Oklahoma City. No breakdown of the settlement was available nor was the amount of attorney's fees awarded Timmons.

Source: The Daily Oklahoman

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