Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Injured inmate's case against sheriff removed to federal court

By Christina Stueve Hodges | Jul 11, 2013

A St. Clair County inmate’s case against the Sheriff has been removed to federal court.

Roger Harris claims he was a prisoner at the St. Clair County Jail on, May 11, 2012, for unidentified reasons, when he was attacked by two fellow detainees.

“Several detainees at the St. Clair County Jail attacked plaintiff, with one detainee biting off a large portion of plaintiff’s ear while another detainee flushed that portion of plaintiff’s ear down the toilet,” according to the May 1 complaint filed in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

Because of the incident, Harris claims he suffered severe and permanent physical and psychological injuries.

The case was removed to federal court on May 23. According to the notice of removal, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has original jurisdiction over the case.

Harris blames St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson for contributing to his injuries, saying he failed to hire and to retain corrections officers to protect Harris from violent fellow prisoners, failed to ensure Harris was protected from physical violence, failed to supervise corrections officers and failed to create policies that would prevent or deter physical assaults by detainees.

Harris seeks more than $50,000.

Van Lear P. Eckert of The Office of Van Lear P. Eckert in Belleville represents the plaintiff.

Alvin Paulson of Becker, Paulson, Hoerner & Thompson represents the county.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 13-L-228.

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