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$4.65 Million Settlement for Florida Female Prisoner Left Quadriplegic After Brutal Beating by Guards

Weimar, 51, had a preexisting hip condition, so when guards ordered her to clean toilets in her dormitory, she requested a legally mandated “reasonable accommodation.” Displeased with her request, a guard called three others to enforce their command. The stress of the situation, Weiner said, caused “an adverse psychological episode” that compelled her to declare a “psychological emergency.”

Rather than take her to a health care professional for assessment, one of the guards threw Weimar to the ground. Then, all four piled on and “brutally beat her with blows to the head, neck, and back.” At least one of the guards “elbowed [her] in the back of the neck, causing her to suffer a broken neck,” Weimer’s civil rights complaint alleged. The guards then dragged Weimar “like a rag doll” to an area outside camera view, allowing her head to “bounce along the ground.” They then continued the beating. [See PLN, December 2019, p. 42].

The beating left Weimar a quadriplegic. She has been dependent on catheters, mechanical breathing assistance, a tracheostomy, and feeding tubes.

COVID-19 has been a concern for all prisoners, and it is an exceptionally fearsome prospect for persons who, like Weimar, have preexisting medical conditions. Alas, Weimar tested positive for COVID-19. She is “OK at the moment,” said her attorney Ryan J. Andrews, on August 27, 2020.

Meanwhile, he has been working to obtain early medical release for Weimar. She completed her sentence for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and resisting an officer with violence on October 29, 2020.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement was continuing its investigation of Weimar’s beating. When it finishes, its report will be given to the State Attorney’s Office in Ocala for prosecutor’s review of whether it will file charges against the guards. A timeline was not given on when the investigation will be completed.

The settlement for Weimar was seen as a positive by former prisoner Debra Bennett, who has organized protests outside LCI to raise awareness of the abuse female prisoners suffer at the hands of guards. She, however, took issue with the fact that FDC did not admit to any wrongdoing.

“You can do whatever you want and get zero repercussions,” Bennett said in reference to guards. “This is not good. She walked in prison, now she will be wheeled out.” See: Weimar v. Florida Department of Corrections, Case No. 5:19-cv-548-Oc-CEMPRL, U.S.D.C. (M.D. Fla.). 


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Related legal case

Weimar v. Florida Department of Corrections