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$91,059.83 in Damages, Fees and Costs Awarded to Alabama Prisoner Beaten by Guard

An Alabama federal jury has awarded $20,000 in compensatory and punitive damages to a man beaten by a guard at the Lauderdale County Detention Center (LCDC).

The lawsuit alleged that LCDC guard Philip King was aware that prisoner Kris Thornton had previously undergone brain surgery, and thus was more vulnerable than the average person to a head injury. Apparently for that reason, King focused on Thornton’s head when he assaulted him without justification on March 11, 2005.

The beating involved King grabbing Thornton and slamming his head against a wall between six and eight times. He then pushed Thornton to the floor and stomped on his head twice. As a result, Thornton’s ears and nose began bleeding, requiring him to be taken to the emergency room five or six hours after the brutal assault.

On July 10, 2009, a jury found that King’s actions had constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and awarded a pal-try $5,000 in compensatory damages for physical and emotional pain and suffering plus $15,000 in punitive damages. On September 4, 2009, the district court granted Thornton $65,460 in attorney fees and $5,599.83 in costs.

Thornton was represented by Florence attorney Henry F. Sherrod III, who is a board member and vice president of the ACLU of Alabama and a member of the National Lawyers Guild Police Accountability Project. See: Thornton v. King, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Ala.), Case No. 3:07-cv-00438-VEH.

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Related legal case

Thornton v. King

Please see the brief bank for documents related to this case.