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Torture Alleged|in Montana Jail

MISSOULA, Mont. (CN) - A man claims Missoula County jailers shackled and hooded him in a "restraint chair" for more than 10 hours at a time, and "subjected [him] to repeated and unwarranted Tazing ... [whose] sole purpose was to punish and torture."

Robert Shane Andrews sued Missoula County, its Sheriff Michael McMeekin, County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg and John Doe sheriff's officers in Federal Court.

Andrews says sheriff's officers arrested him in February 2008 and charged him with a misdemeanor, "for having failed to comply with the terms of his 2007 conviction."

Andrews' 10-page complaint does not state the nature of his 2007 conviction. The Missoulian newspaper reported that he was convicted of burglary, trespassing and obstructing a peace officer. His parole officer reported him for smoking marijuana, in violation of his sentencing terms, and he was sentenced to 3 years in the state pen, The Missoulian reported.

Andrews claims he was tortured while "confined in the Missoula County Detention Facility as a result of this Petition to Revoke."

Andrews claims that "correction officers placed plaintiff in a restraint chair, with a hood over his head. That plaintiff was hand-cuffed and placed in this restraint chair for two periods, one over 10 hours and the other approximately 15 hours. While confined in the cell plaintiff Andrews was subjected to repeated and unwarranted Tazing and/or mistreatment."

Andrew claims: "That said tazing was done not to protect the defendants or society, but rather to inflict grievous pain and agony to plaintiff. That while wholly confined, plaintiff presented no danger to the correction officers/employees of the County of Missoula."

He adds: "The above incidents involving plaintiff are not mere isolated incidents but have become and are part of the official policy and custom of the County of Missoula."

Andrews seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations, pain and suffering and emotional distress. He is represented by Clinton Kammerer.

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