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Prisoner Awarded $25,000 Against Texas Guard Who Facilitated Assault

by Christopher Zoukis

A federal jury in Texas found that a prison guard was negligent in aiding and abetting an assault on a prisoner, awarding the victim $25,000 in damages.

     While David K. Lara was a prisoner in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, he was invited to join a gang whose members were from the same part of Texas he was from. After refusing to join, he claimed that he was told to be ready to be assaulted. Lara said he notified prison officials about the threat, but that nothing was done about it. His requests to be transferred also were ignored.

     On September 29, 2007, Lara alleged that he was in his locked cell when two members of the gang entered the pod and threatened him. According to Lara, prison guard Timothy Longoria, who was in a secure room, opened the door to Lara's cell, giving in to their demands. Lara was then allegedly kicked and beaten by the two for several minutes until Longoria flicked the lights, indicating that another guard was approaching.

     On July 10, 2009, Lara filed suit in federal court against Longoria and Assistant Warden Carol Monroe Jr. alleging cruel and unusual punishment, assault, negligence and deliberate indifference.

     After two days of trial on September 19 and 20, 2011, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Monroe but against Longoria. It awarded Lara $15,000 for violation of his civil rights, $5,000 for aiding and abetting an assault, and $5,000 for gross negligence, for a total award of $25,000 against Longoria.

See: Lara v. Longoria, et al., United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, San Antonio Division, Case No. 5:09-cv-00560-NSN (Sept. 21, 2011)

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Related legal case

Lara v. Longoria, et al.