How Dumb Can Jailers Be? | Courthouse News Service
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How Dumb Can Jailers Be?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (CN) - Jacksonville sheriff's officers stripped naked a man arrested on public intoxication charges and threw him in a cell with a naked accused rapist, who, predictably, sexually assaulted him, the first man claims in court.

Mark G. Baker, of Maryland, sued Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Duval County, the Jacksonville City Council and the defendants' General Counsel Office, in Federal Court.

Baker says he was arrested on charges of drunkenness and trespassing on March 3, 2010 in a Walgreens parking lot while on the phone with his father.

He says his father was trying to direct him to a nearby hospital, but that "the police refused to talk to his father who was on the line; turned off the phone; took him into custody; refused his repeated requests for a phone call to his mother, a Florida attorney; proceeded to put him into a general holding tank; and did not book him."

The complaint continues: "Police then stripped plaintiff completely naked and placed him in a suicide cellblock with another stripped male inmate, Joseph L. Pye, who had been arrested for a sexual felony shortly after being released from jail for his [Pye's] previous felony. The suicide cell was approximately 6 x 8 feet." (Brackets in complaint.)

Inside the cell, Baker says, he was "sexually assaulted two times by Pye and subjected to cruel and unusual punishment for a purported misdemeanor for which he had not even been charged."

Baker Pye covered the officers' observation opening with a movable mattress inside the cells."

Baker seeks $1 million in damages for negligence and cruel and unusual punishment, and an injunction ordering the defendants to "out aside these egregious practices for all time."

He is represented by Kathleen Woody of Silver Spring, Md.

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