Inmate claims correctional officer threatened to kill him, suit says

Steve Gonzalez Aug. 8, 2007, 2:21am

William Hill (Illinois Dept. of Corrections)

An inmate serving a 16-year sentence for receiving a stolen vehicle and three counts of burglary filed a handwritten civil rights complaint in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis Aug. 6, claiming he is in "imminent danger" at the Shawnee Correctional Center in Vienna, Ill.

William Hill claims that on July 8, 2006, Lt. Billy Groaning and other correctional officers assaulted him for no reason causing serious and permanent injuries.

Hill claims Lt. Groaning also threatened to kill him all other Muslims and Allah, and the officers that witnessed the alleged threats refuse to back his story.

He also claims he was assaulted on July 12, 2006, after he fell in a puddle of water which was leaking from the ceiling.

According to Hill, after falling he was unresponsive and officers took the steel cell door and hit him in the head with it several times. He alleges the officers eventually forced it closed on his head and neck.

Hill claims he has suffered pain in his head, neck, back, arms and hands since the incident and is "living in fear" because the Internal Affairs Division refused to investigate his complaint.

He also claims he has become "psychologically depressed" because he continues to see the officers who assaulted him every day with no action being taken against them.

"Plaintiffs (sic) arms and hands have began to shake uncontrollably from the assaults and injuries sustained," Hill wrote.

Hill claims Internal Affairs placed him in segregation for 30 days on April 4, after he wrote a letter to them to complain of having to see Groaning everyday.

According to Hill, after segregation he was placed in a "no movement cell" and remains there even though he has not violated any rules.

"Plaintiff believes he is being retaliated against by Groaning, Internal Affairs and Warden Austin and that this is no less than intimidation for filing grievances," the complaint states.

Hill also claims he has filed grievances against the staff doctor and health care unit because he has had a mouth infection for the past nine years and has lost at least 10 teeth which he thought could have been saved with proper care.

"Plaintiff is in fear and danger of losing all his remaining teeth because of his chronic disease, chronic bad breath along with bleeding gums and tooth aches," the complaint states.

Hill is asking that he be transferred to a safe state or federal facility immediately, an order giving him proper medical and dental care, a proper investigation into the officers at Shawnee and compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $1.2 million dollars.

The case has been assigned to District Judge David Herndon.

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