Three of the four guards involved in the deadly incident have since been indicted on federal charges.
A recently filed federal lawsuit alleges that an Illinois inmate was beaten to death by prison guards in a notorious “blind spot” that corrections officers frequently took advantage of.
“Mr. [Larry] Earvin was brutally and viciously beaten to death by four cruel and savage employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections,” said attorney Michael Oppenheimer, who represented the family after Earvin’s death in 2018. “This was a sustained, extensive, ruthless murder.”
Earvin, notes ABC7Chicago, was serving a six-year sentence at the Western Illinois Correctional Center. His family says that Earvin was convicted for stealing items worth less than $300.
According to WBEZ-Chicago, Earvin was arrested after stealing watches from a hospital gift shop. Earvin then attempted to sell the stolen watches on a Cook County street.
One woman offered $11 for a watch; while she was handing over the cash, Earvin “forcibly grabbed the money and the victim’s hand while also smacking away the victim’s right hand.”
In prison, Earvin—along with other inmates—was allegedly abused by guards, who had a reputation for “disrespecting” racial minorities and disabled people.
While the Illinois Department of Corrections did not offer extensive comment on either Earvin’s death or the recently filed lawsuit, it had admitted that Earvin died following an “altercation” with prison guards.
Earvin’s family observes that the inmate was killed in an area which had no camera coverage; an autopsy found that Earvin died after sustaining multiple broken ribs, a punctured colon, and other serious, internal injuries. A forensic pathologist later ruled Earvin’s death a homicide, resultant from blunt force trauma.
According to CBS2, the Larry Earvin’s son, Larry Pippion, has heard from other inmates who say they, too, were beaten in the same “blind spot.”
“Seems hard to believe, because you’d believe in a place like that you’d have cameras everywhere,” Pippion said.
“I don’t know how they could treat a human like that, let alone a 65-year-old who couldn’t defend themselves? [sic]” Pippion said in an interview with CBS2-Chicago. “Handcuffed? Who does that? You don’t even treat animals like that.”
Pippion and the Earvin family’s attorneys have emphasized that Larry Earvin suffered from mental illness, and had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The family’s current counsel, Jon Erickson, told CBS2 that his clients want the Illinois Legislature to open an investigation.
“What we are demanding,” Erickson said, “[is] that the Illinois Legislature conduct an open and thorough investigation.”
CBS2 notes that, in December 2019, three of the four guards involved in Earvin’s death have since been indicted on federal charges; one has pleaded guilty, while the remaining two are awaiting trial.