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$36,125 Settlement in California Prisoner’s Beating and Pepper Spray Claim

The California Department of Corrections (CDC) paid $36,125 to settle a lawsuit claiming Eighth Amendment violations over a guard’s pepper spraying and beating of a prisoner without provocation and for subsequent denial of medical care to treat resulting injuries.

The civil rights action was brought by Colin N. Andition, a prisoner at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVS) on March 1, 2000. He was a participant in the Enhanced Outpatient Program for mentally ill prisoners.

Andition was subject to a routine cell search. After the guards left, he realized his personal spoon was mistakenly confiscated during the search. On his way to group therapy, Andition asked guard Ramos for his spoon back. As Ramos was about to return the spoon, guard Mark Priest entered the “Rotunda” and told Ramos not to give the spoon back.

When Andition continued to request his spoon be returned, Priest said, “Andition, I’m giving you a direct order to go back to your cell our I will spray you with O.C. Spray and beat you with my baton.” Andition did not comply, Priest reissued his order and threat, and when Andition still did not comply, Priest carried through with his threat.

He pepper sprayed Andition “in the eyes, face, and head area for several seconds.” Andition turned his back to Priest and fell to the ground. Priest than began beating Andition with his baton in the “knees, legs, buttocks, and back,” even after he “assumed the prone position face down.”

Once Andition was placed in hand and foot restraints, he was dragged to the clinic holding cell, where he remained for about nine hours without medical care. After a videotaped interview and recording of his injuries, Andition was placed naked into the rubber room. He remained there for 20 days before transfer to another prison. In the interim, he was denied an approved visit with his mother.

Subsequent investigations by CDC sustained Andition’s claim that he was subject to excessive force and a false disciplinary report. CDC agreed to the settlement and the civil rights action was dismissed on March 10, 2005. Andition was represented by Pleasant Hill attorney Robin Logan. See: Andition v. Priest, USDC, N.D. Cal. Case No: C02-3703.

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Related legal case

Andition v. Priest