One Chillicothe State Prison guard bragged about paralyzing the plaintiff.
Ohio will pay $17.5 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Seth Fletcher, a 21-year-old inmate at Chillicothe State Prison who claims he was brutalized by corrections officers.
According to The Columbus Dispatch, Fletcher said he suffered a severe spinal injury after guards tackled, handcuffed, and dropped him.
Despite the announcement, the state Department of Rehabilitation and Correction refused to comment on the lawsuit and its outcome, saying the final details are still being worked out.
The Dispatch notes that Fletcher sustained his injuries on April 2nd, 2020. In his lawsuit, Fletcher said he had been knocked to the ground and told guards that he could not move or feel his legs.
However, Chillicothe corrections personnel did not take his complaint seriously, and “dropped” him several times. After Fletcher said he could not even get himself a drink of water—after which prison guards poured water into his mouth and nose.
Fletcher’s attorneys obtained text messages sent by Officer Garrett Osbon, who appeared to brag about mistreating the inmate.
Osbon continued to brag about brutalizing Fletcher even after the inmate was taken to Ohio State Medical Center for further treatment.
“The dude I broke his nose is now paralyzed with a broken neck, and they say his face looks like he had been dropped and dragged through concrete, LMAO,” Osbon wrote. “It feels good to know I played a small part in paralyzing a cho, LMAO.”
“Cho,” adds The Columbus Dispatch, is prison slang for “child molester.” Fletcher had earlier received a two-year sentence in Fulton County for soliciting sexual content involving minors.
CBS News reports that one or more officers—presumably Osbon–also boasted about the incident on Facebook, saying “we also waterboard[ed] him LMAO.”
However, Fletcher’s attorneys say their client was prosecuted for making a consensual videotape with his girlfriend.
The videotape, said Fletcher’s attorneys, was recorded when Fletcher was 18; his girlfriend was two years younger.
Fletcher filed a lawsuit against two dozen Chillicothe security and nursing personnel several days after his assault.
One year later, the state terminated three Corrections employees and gave a “one-day working suspension” to two others.
Fletcher, says The Columbus Dispatch, suffered severe injuries—he is now quadriplegic, and cannot move without a wheelchair. His mother said the family needs money to remodel their house to accommodate Fletcher’s disability.
Attorney Geoffrey Fieger said he and his client are pleased that the state accepted responsibility for the assault and agreed to a settlement.
“The torture and crippling of a prisoner in America sounds medieval. Yet it happened, here, in America, in 2020. As horrific as this case is, I want to thank the Ohio Attorney General’s office and Governor Dewine for accepting responsibility in this most horrific of cases. This abuse should never happen again,” Fieger said.