A former Leon County Jail inmate filed a federal lawsuit against the Leon County Sheriff's Office, alleging that he was injured because of a deputy's reckless driving and medical staff treated his neck and shoulder injuries with "deliberate indifference."
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tallahassee names LCSO, two sheriff's deputies, the jail’s contract health provider (Corizon), and a jail doctor.
Charlie Stevens, a 51-year-old from Thomasville, Georgia, requested punitive damages for injuries he suffered in custody, court records said.
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Stevens, who was charged with cocaine trafficking, said two LCSO deputies did not buckle him in before the car ride transported from a federal prison in Sumter County to the Leon County Detention Facility early last year.
Handcuffed, Stevens said he was unable to secure himself in the backseat of the cruiser, so he seated himself "about half way on the bench," read the complaint said.
"All inmates will be properly restrained and transported in the rear seat of the vehicle unless permission is granted by the officer’s supervisor to do otherwise," according to LCSO standard operating procedure.
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The deputy allegedly drove recklessly and, at one point, came to an abrupt stop, flinging Stevens "face first" into the steel partition, court records said.
He collapsed to the floor of the car before the driver picked up other inmates. Upon arrival at the Leon County Jail, Stevens told the deputies about his pain.
They ignored him, the complaint alleges.
LCSO does not comment on pending litigation, said spokesperson Angela Green.
Stevens told medical staff about painful headaches in February 2021. He said it took four days for medical staff to take X-rays, which discovered spinal disk injuries.
Over the following months, he was formally diagnosed with vertebrae damage; nerve damage in his right hand; damage to right shoulder rotator cuff and ligament damage in his right shoulder.
For treatment, the jail's medical provider's gave him Tylenol, medication for nerve pain, ibuprofen and an arm sling.
The complaint says Corizon, the jail's medical provider, has a '"wait and see" policy regarding inmate injuries, "which promotes little to no intervention for extended periods of time or until the inmate leaves the facility."
After a year in the Leon County Jail and multiple complaints to "the facility's medical facility," he was scheduled to be examined by an outside specialist, who requested Stevens get an MRI.
Before the images could be taken, Stevens was taken back to the Sumter County federal prison, FCI Coleman Low. He has not received an MRI.
In January, a separate federal lawsuit against the jail's former medical health counselor is going to trial.
The complaint alleges that the counselor's deliberate indifference contributed to the suicide of Jennifer "Casey" Norred in July 2017.
The initial wrongful death lawsuit named Sheriff's Office, saying it was negligent. The case against LCSO has been settled, though the amount does not appear in court records.
Contact Christopher Cann at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @ChrisCannFL on Twitter.
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This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Ex-inmate sues Leon County Sheriff's Office, others over medical care