An inmate at the Pinckneyville Correctional Center filed suit against the Illinois Department of Corrections in United States District Court March 24, claiming the tactical team at his former prison violated his rights.

Christopher Arndt claims he was in the medium security cafeteria at the Tamms Correctional Center on Sept. 7, 2007, when the tactical team made an unauthorized entry during a training exercise.

Arndt alleges the tactical team entered and started yelling and shouting, then struck him in the back with one of their shields causing him to sustain neck and back injuries.

He claims he had to seek immediate medical care due to the "unnecessary and excessive use of force" that was subjected to an internal affairs investigation.

Arndt is serving a three-year sentence for habitual DUI violations. He is scheduled to be paroled in July.

According to Arndt, after he injured his back he filed for a new job, one that would not require heavy lifting because of his back injuries, but was turned down and was forced to work at a job that caused severe back pain.

He claims that on some occasions officers went out of their way to ensure he would be lifting heavy items which would cause him to seek medical treatment.

"This is an extreme case of torture and cruel and unusual punishment," Arndt wrote in his handwritten complaint.

Arndt also claims the prison doctor failed to acknowledge his serious medical condition and failed to refer him to a specialist exposing him to a potential "crippling situation."

He claims the doctor could have prevented the pain but told him to "suck it up."

Arndt, who is asking for $21 million in compensatory damages, $11 million in punitive damages and a Medicaid card for future medical care, claims the doctor exposed him to "painful and potential life altering form of cruel and unusual punishment."

The case has been assigned to District Judge David Herndon.

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