Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

January 8, 2008

Lawsuit claims inmates beaten

VALDOSTA, Ga. — Seven Valdosta State Prison inmates filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday, which accuses 25 corrections officials of conducting, condoning or concealing routine beatings and torture of restrained inmates.

The complaint outlines several attacks that include prison guards and members of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) severely beating, kicking and choking prisoners and leaving prisoners without food, water and bathroom facilities among other allegations. The complaint also alleges that “beating gloves,” black leather gloves with thin padding on the outside of the knuckles that are designed for beatings and issued to the CERT by the Department of Corrections, were used in several of the beatings.

One of the complainants, Ronny N. Askew, states that he is still suffering physical and mental distress from an incident that he alleges happened March 12, 2007, which included members of the CERT repeatedly punching, kicking and stomping Askew and two other inmates in the face, head and body. He recalls losing control of his bladder and urinating over himself while he was allegedly brutally stomped.

“A lot of people just don’t know what goes on in that prison,” said Askew, a former Lowndes State Prison inmate who was transported to Valdosta State Prison. “They have a code of silence so what they do stays inside. They almost killed us and showed no mercy.”

Askew added that while they were beaten, they were laughed at by members of the CERT. Afterward, the inmates were allegedly transported back to Lowndes State Prison, put in "the hole" and denied medical attention.

Another incident outlined in the complaint involves a prisoner who was beaten so badly, he lost control of his bowels and defecated while being beaten and urinated blood for four days. According to the complaint, prisoners were denied medical treatment, threatened with beatings if they told anyone what happened and were told that there was “nowhere for them to hide at Valdosta State Prison.”

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