Guards in Cahoots With Racists, Inmate Says
LEXINGTON, Ky. (CN) - Kentucky prison officers take a cut of the Aryan Brotherhood's drug deals and let the gang operate unchecked inside the walls, an inmate claims in Federal Court.
Christopher Applegate, who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography and is incarcerated at the Northpoint Training Center in Burgin, Ky., sued Sgt. Christopher Wilson, Correctional Officers Wood, Hoeck and Mandell, Lts. Nitzel and Epperson and 10 John Does.
Applegate claims the Aryan Brotherhood targeted him almost as soon as he arrived, but prison guards refused to relocate him because "the Correctional Officers at Northpoint Training Center are complicit in aiding the Aryan Brotherhood and other gangs in return for a portion of the funds the gangs make dealing and in extorting other prisoners for protection."
The lawsuit continues: "The typical example of extorting an inmate for protection involves one gang assaulting a new inmate and the rival gang proposing protection from the other gang to the assaulted inmate. The gangs are complicit in organizing this scheme, either implicitly or explicitly. If the inmate does not agree to the proposal, the rival gang continues to assault the inmate. All money exchanges in the extortion and drug dealing schemes take place outside of the prison and involve relatives of one inmate sending money orders to the relatives of another inmate."
Applegate claims he gave prison officials the names of several inmates who beat him, and that after an interview with the officer in charge of the investigation, "Correctional Officer Mandell un-cuffed Mr. Applegate at the beginning of the hall ... and made Mr. Applegate walk to his cell down the cell block by himself."
The lawsuit continues: "Contrary to Northpoint's policy, the bean flaps on all the doors along the way were left open, purposely, so that the inmates could punish Mr. Applegate by throwing bags of urine and feces at him.
"As Mr. Applegate walked back to his cell, inmates threw plastic bags full of urine and feces on him, through the open bean flaps."
Applegate claims he was moved to another cell after "this ordeal," during which his property was stolen, and he was assaulted with urine again, thrown again through an open bean flap.
According to the complaint: "What likely prompted the removal from the cell, the talk with the lieutenant, and the subsequent urine and feces assault was that a correctional officer, at the command of Sergeant Wilson, went through Mr. Applegate's legal file and found some of the photos for which Mr. Applegate was prosecuted.
"Mr. Applegate was unaware that the photos were in his file and had been told by his criminal defense lawyer that there were none in the file.
"Mr. Applegate was written up for possession of child pornography, was reclassified as a level three with nine points, had to spend ninety days in solitary confinement, and lost his chance at parole and safety from violent assaults."
Applegate claims he was transferred to the maximum security portion of the prison and that another inmate attacked him in his cell at the behest of Sgt. Wilson.
Applegate claims the inmate later passed him a note that "stated that he needed to contact his attorney and stated that he had been paid by a guard to assault him."
He seeks punitive damages for deliberate indifference, negligence and civil conspiracy.
He is represented by Eric Deters of Covington, Ky.