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Florida Prisoner Awarded $70,000 in Excessive Force Claim

A Florida federal jury awarded $70,000 to a prisoner in a civil rights action alleging excessive force and failure to intervene to stop the beating.

In the first few weeks he was at the South Florida Reception Center, prisoner Abdelaziz Bilal Hamze was allegedly subjected to threatening and hostile comments from guards.

As he was returning from the recreation yard on August 25, 2009 to the dormitory, Lt. Rita Yeager allegedly told him that she and other guards were going to get him placed in confinement.

A guard, on August 27, 2009 told Hamze to come to the guard’s station and close the door. Two guards then allegedly attacked, punched, and kicked Hamze, who alleged that Yeager gave the signal for them to begin the beating. It was further alleged that Yeager and another guard stood by and failed to intervene to stop the beating.

Yeager denied Hamze’s claims and argued he could not receive more than nominal damages because he failed to demonstrate more than de minimus injury. The jury’s June 9, 2015 verdict found for Hamze and awarded him $50,000 in compensatory damages and $20,000 in punitive damages. Hamze was represented by Miami attorneys Gary M. Pappas and John A. Camp. See: Hamze v. Doe, U.S.D.C. (S.D. Fla.), Case No. 1:11-cv-21227.

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Related legal case

Hamze v. Doe