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Las Vegas Man Receives $30,000 for Beating by Jail Guards

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit alleging jail guards used excessive force on a pretrial detainee.

William Nugent was arrested by LVMPD officers on February 17, 2009, on charges of carrying a concealed weapon and possession of marijuana. He was taken to the Clark County Detention Center for booking.

To complete a strip search, guards removed Nugent’s handcuffs so he could remove his coveralls. When Nugent threw the coveralls to the ground, guard Hugh Hardy said, “You pick up that mother fucking shit now.” Nugent then reiterated the vulgar order as one Hardy should perform.

Hardy said that based on the fact Nugent was larger than him and that he had not completed the search, he made a “split second judgment call” to use a takedown maneuver to get Nugent back in restraints. A video recorded the entire incident; it ended with a “spit hood” being placed over Nugent’s head. None of the guards struck Nugent in the video.

Nugent contended, however, that once he was out of view of the camera, eight guards “wrongfully attacked, physically assaulted, hit, battered, and/or likewise severely injured” him. As a result, Nugent contended he suffered several fillings being knocked from his teeth or three teeth being cracked.

Nugent lost his federal lawsuit in September 2010, with the district court granting summary judgment to the defendants on his federal claims and dismissing his state law claims without prejudice. See: Nugent v. Las Vegas Metro Police Department, USDC, D. Nevada, Case No. 2:09-cv-00601.

The settlement to pay $30,000 to Nugent in return for dismissal of his remaining claims was reached on July 23, 2012. 

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Related legal case

Nugent v. Las Vegas Metro Police Department