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Indiana Prisoner Obtains $85,000 Settlement After Being Beaten and Tased

by Ed Lyon

Brandon Garwood was incarcerated at a jail in Cass County, Indiana in October 2015. He was being held on a charge of endangering another person while driving drunk.

On October 2, 2015, video cameras showed Garwood peacefully laying on his concrete slab bed when five jailers entered his cell. One of the guards told Garwood to “stand up or I will split your head open.” As Garwood attempted to comply, guard Ronald Rubio “lunged” at him, wrestled him to the ground and began to assault him.

The other four jailers then joined Rubio in attacking Garwood; one of the guards, Cameron Biggs, used a Taser on him while he was still on the ground.

The security video showed the jailers moving Garwood to a padded cell where he was once again “forcibly” taken to the ground, stripped of his clothing and abandoned for several hours. No medical care was administered after the violent incident.

Nowhere in news report or court filings was there any mention of what may have motivated the five guards to assault and use a Taser on a compliant, non-violent prisoner. Responses by the jailers to Garwood’s subsequent lawsuit included allegations that his description of the video was “not fully or accurately summarized,” and that their actions were “based on their authority and official positions” and “within the scope of employment.”

Despite those defenses, an $85,000 settlement was reached in July 2018. Garwood was represented by attorney Scott L. Barnhart. See: Garwood v. Pryor, Cass County Circuit Court (IN), Case No. 09C01-1608-CT-000027. 

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Related legal case

Garwood v. Pryor