Inmate claims St. Clair County correctional officers attacked him

Kelly Holleran Aug. 3, 2009, 9:59am

A man who says he was attacked by correctional officers at the St. Clair County Jail has filed suit against nine of the officers.

Shauntez Hairston claims the officers at the jail threatened to kill him and continuously attacked him after he filed a separate lawsuit against another officer at the jail.

Defendants named in the suit include Xavier Blackburn, corrections supervisor; Annette Tim, correctional officer; Phil McLauren, superintendent and major of St. Clair County Jail; Andrew Blankey, correctional officer; Sean McPeak, correctional officer; Matthew Scott, assistant superintendent and captain of St. Clair County Jail; Rodney Wilson, correctional officer; Kenneth Clayton, correctional officer; and another correctional officer identified only as Collins.

The alleged assaults against Hairston began on June 30 when Blackburn, McPeak, Blankey and Tim attacked and beat him, according to the complaint filed July 28 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

While being attacked, Hairston claims he did nothing to defend himself.

"Defendant Annette Tim kicked Plaintiff in his groin area making contact with his genitals," the suit states. "Plaintiff began to succumb to the pain and injury and was collapsing to the ground. Defendant Blackburn then forcefully slammed Plaintiff to the ground."

Once Hairston was on the ground, Tim began kicking him in the back of his head, neck and upper and lower back, the complaint says.

According to the complaint, Blackburn also began punching and kicking Hairston's torso and made comments to Hairston about getting the FBI involved. In addition, during Blackburn's attack on Hairston, he said, "This is for officer Milton," an officer who Hairston has a pending lawsuit against, the suit states.

Both Tim and Blackburn told Hairston he would leave the jail in a body bag, Hairston claims.

After the attack, Tim would not allow Hairston to receive medical treatment, even though his clavicle was swollen with a contusion, the back of his head was swollen and his neck and back were extremely sore and painful, according to the complaint. Ever since the attack, the hearing in Hairston's left ear has been impaired, the suit states.

About 90 to 100 minutes after the attack, Hairston was again attacked, this time by Blankey and McPeak, the suit states.

McLauren and Scott refused to listen to any of Hairston's complaints and told Hairston officers were allowed to do what they wanted to him, the complaint says.

Subsequently, Hairston remained in a dirty and unsanitary solitary confinement cell without a mattress as discipline, he says.

"Less than an hour later, plaintiff was taken to get his property," the suit states. "Once in the cell he was telling other detainees he knew to call his mom and attorney and tell them that he had been beat up and attacked by officers. At this time defendant McPeak violently slammed plaintiff into the stainless steel toilet causing him pain and contusions to his torso. Defendant McPeak screamed into plaintiff's ear, 'Didn't I tell you not to say a (expletive) word.'"

McPeak continued his verbal assault against Hairston as he shoved Hairston into the main hallway of the jail, calling him a "little (expletive)," the complaint says.

After replying he was a man, Hairston claims McPeak shoved him to the ground by the neck.

Collins, Clayton and Wilson failed to stop Blankey's and McPeak's verbal and physical assaults against Hairston, according to the complaint.

Because of the repeated attacks against him, Hairston claims he has suffered from threats to his life, emotional distress and pain.

In the four-count suit, Hairston is seeking $108,000 in damages and $180,000 in punitive and exemplary damages, plus other relief the court deems just.

Hairston will be appearing pro se.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-400.

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