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Louisiana Prisoner Beaten by Guards Settles Excessive Force Suit

by Christopher Zoukis

A prisoner housed at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Louisiana (JPCC), who was pinned down and beaten by five guards, agreed to an undisclosed settlement with the guards, prison officials and medical staff.

     On June 12, 2009, while imprisoned at JPCC, Charles Alvin Cummings Jr., was accused of indecent exposure directed toward a female guard. According to Cummings, after other guards found out about it, he was pinned to the ground by one guard as four others proceeded to beat him. Cummings alleged that to cover up and justify the assault, the guards filed a disciplinary action against him for exposing himself, refusing to obey an order and resisting an officer. Cummings was eventually cleared of the indecent exposure charge.

     On September 11, 2009, Cumming filed a pro se civil rights complaint in federal court against several prison guards and officials. He argued that the guards used excessive force and their actions violated the Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. He also claimed that the medical staff falsified his medical report and refused to properly treat him for the injuries he sustained as a result of the guards’ assault.

     Although Cummings sought $1,250,000 in damages, plus legal fees and a request that each defendant be suspended without pay for six months, he agreed to a settlement, the terms of which were unreported.

     The case was dismissed by Judge Jay C. Zainey on April 13, 2012.

See: Cummings Jr. v. Blange, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Case No. 2:09-cv-06129-JCZ-KWR (Apr. 13, 2012)

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Related legal case

Cummings Jr. v. Blange, et al.