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$5,000 Settlement For Leavenworth Guards' Unprovoked Beating Of Federal Prisoner

Illinois federal prisoner Kerry Dixon brought a combined Bivens and federal tort action against the United States in 1994 after guards beat him without just cause at the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas (USP Leavenworth) in 1993. The suit settled for $5,000 in 1997.

Dixon and his cell mate were locked in a Special Housing Unit at USP Leavenworth in 1993. The door electronically opened and several guards dressed in riot gear began beating and kicking them. Although the prisoners immediately assumed submissive positions, the guards continued their unprovoked assault. One guard clutched Dixon's genitals and squeezed, while another jammed his fingers into Dixon's eyes as if to remove them from the sockets. The prisoners were then dragged face first down metal stairs while handcuffed behind their backs and beaten into unconsciousness in front of the control unit. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officials claimed that the required filming of forced cell extraction was bypassed due to the time sensitive nature of the extraction because an informant made them aware of a pending escape, although that information actually came a year prior to the extraction. No escape attempt was ever made.

The prisoners were taken to the prison hospital, but were not treated. Other prisoners who had been beaten joined them and they were all subsequently transferred to the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, where they also went untreated. Dixon brought the action against the United States and various BOP officials and guards for Fifth Amendment due process violations, Eighth Amendment violations for excessive and unnecessary force resulting in cruel and unusual punishment, Sixth Amendment violations for the infliction of punishment without a prior fair and impartial trial, and related Kansas State Constitutional violations.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas approved the settlement in 1997 and ordered the parties to pay their own costs and fees. See: Dixon v. United States, USDC, D. Kan., Case No. 94 3309 RDR (Mar. 13, 1997).

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Related legal case

Dixon v. United States

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