Rejecting Guard's Advances Cost Him, Man Says
BOISE, Idaho (CN) - An inmate who reported a jailer's sexual advances was beaten so brutally by five jailers that he suffered brain damage, the man claims in Federal Court.
Kody Gambrel sued Twin Falls County and five of its jailers: Andrew Heikkila, Bradley Terry, Stacey Thomas, John Hubbard, and Jimmy Adams.
Gambrel, 24, says he was a first-time offender serving a 180-day sentence at the Twin Falls County Jail for misdemeanor driving under the influence.
Before he was beaten, Gambrel says, defendant Thomas forced him to submit to a strip search, during which he said Gambrel had a "nice body," that he "should consider pursuing a career in homosexual pornography," and that he could "get any guy he wanted."
Gambrel claims that Thomas made similar comments on other occasions, and that Gambrel reported it to Twin County Jail officials.
Gambrel claims that fellow inmates threatened to sexually assault him on Jan. 29, 2011, and that he reported it incident to jailer Andrew Heikkila.
Heikkila, who was doing a routine cell check, took him out of the cell and attacked him in a corridor, grabbing him by the back of his collar and slamming him to the ground, causing him to hit his head and lose his glasses, Gambrel says.
He claims that three other jailers - Hubbard, Adams and Thomas - arrived and joined in the beating, slamming his head to the ground two more times and using military techniques designed to inflict pain and injury.
"Mr. Thomas, Mr. Heikkila and Mr. Terry attacked Kody by striking him in the face and using a series of military-style, hand-to-hand combat, pain-infliction techniques," the complaint stated. "Mr. Terry struck Kody in the head and face with a closed fist approximately six times, inflicting extreme pain and serious bodily injuries on Kody."
Gambrel claims that Terry hit him in the face two more times, saying, "Oh wow, I can't believe he's still conscious."
Gambrel claims he was hit in the infraorbital nerve, a pressure point just below the nose, and repeatedly in the peroneal nerve, above the knee, which may have caused permanent tissue damage. He claims the guards also put him into a "vertical armbar," a "gooseneck," and a "figure four leg lock."
Gambrel says he did nothing to provoke the attack, did not resist and that he believes it was in retaliation for his decision to "report Mr. Thomas' unwelcome sexual advances."
He says the jailers left him on the floor of Holding Cell 3 after the attack, bleeding profusely from his head, face and ear," and with "numerous large contusions on his head and face."
He says his head and face were swollen, his eye was swollen shut, he lost and regained consciousness and was refused medical treatment. Photographs of the injuries were taken, but he does not know if they were destroyed or "not preserved," along with audio and video evidence.
And, Gambrel says, he suffered a shoulder injury, which required surgery, and brain injuries that caused "memory loss, cognitive delay, inability to concentrate and neurological impairments." the complaint states.
"The brain injuries have prevented him from successfully attending college or maintaining significant employment," Gambrel says.
He also has suffered hearing and vision loss, chronic headaches, flashbacks, anxiety and insomnia.
He say he was not given his glasses until 10 days after the attack and was told he would be not be given medical treatment until he agreed to "misrepresent how he sustained his injuries." He refused.
"Kody's family was forced to obtain a court order commanding the Twin Falls County Jail to permit Kody to receive medical care," the complaint states.
The Twin Falls' Times-News reported in January that a jury acquitted Gambrel on two of the three felony charges of battery on officers stemming from the incident, but hung on a third charge.
The case was tried in Gooding County's 5th District Court due to potential conflicts of interest existing between Gambrel's family and Twin Falls prosecutor Grant Loebs.
Gambrel is the son of former Twin Falls Police Det. Curtis Gambrel, according the Times-News.
He seeks damages for violation of civil rights, negligence and spoliation of evidence. He is represented by Shawn Baily, with Peck, Hadfield, Baxter & Moore, of Logan.