'Terror and Torture' in Arkansas Jail
BENTON, Ark. (CN) - Arkansas sheriff's deputies tied a man to chair for eight hours and beat him "until his teeth were knocked from his mouth" - after a traffic ticket, the man claims in court.
Anthony Westbrook sued Saline County, its Sheriff Bruce Pennington and Deputy Calvin Reed, in Saline County Court. He claims the defendants "have created an atmosphere of terror and torture at the [Saline County Detention] Center".
Westbrook, who also sued five Jane Doe deputies, claims he was beaten and unconstitutionally restrained for 10 hours after his arrest and medical treatment.
He claims the Doe deputies at the Saline County Detention Center not only watched the beating but refused to intervene and "conspired between themselves" to destroy video evidence.
"After being arrested and detained, Anthony Westbrook was handcuffed, restrained and beaten by Deputy Calvin Reed until his teeth were knocked from his mouth and he suffered facial and jaw and other physical injuries and other injuries constituting excessive and unconstitutional force," Westbrook says in the complaint.
"Following the beating by Deputy Calvin Reed, Anthony Westbrook sought help and medical care from the employees at the Center and instead was unreasonably and unconstitutionally restrained for a period of 10 hours in violation [of] his constitutional rights."
Westbrook claims the deputies threatened him "with further unconstitutional punishment if he continued to request such help."
"The defendants not only failed to provide such protective help but became agitated and intentionally ignored the injuries of plaintiff after he was injured," the complaint states.
"... (F)ollowing plaintiff's beating and injury, the defendants conspired between themselves, under the guidance of the supervising official for the Detention Center to misrepresent the facts and circumstances involving the beating and injury of Anthony Westbrook to obscure their acts to avoid accountability for what they had done, including destroying video evidence of the beating and detention."
Westbrook claims that Saline Detention Center officials have a history of beating inmates-so much so that the beatings are "part of the official custom and practice at the Saline County Detention Center."
He claims "that the employees engaged in a pattern and practice of brutality and unconstitutional restraint and denying emergency medical treatment to Anthony Westbrook and others similarly situated."
The complaint is not a class action.
Westbrook claims that "inadequate supervision and training of Detention Center employees ... have created an atmosphere of terror and torture at the Center [which] caused many detainees and inmates to be deprived of their constitutional rights and to endure beatings and injuries inflicted by the deputies and employees of the detention facilities".
He seeks compensatory and punitive damages for constitutional and civil rights violations, excessive force, pain and suffering, scars and disfigurement, and medical and dental expenses.
He is represented by James F. Swindoll of Little Rock.