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Sheriff, detention center to face complaint from former inmate

Apr 12, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

A civil rights complaint has been filed by a jail inmate against the Fremont County Sheriff and county detention center staff.

The suit stems from an alleged altercation at the jail last year.

Timothy William Davis filed the complaint on March 11 with the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming.

Among those listed in the complaint as defendants are Fremont County Sheriff Skip Hornecker, four Fremont County Detention Center correctional officers, two deputy U.S. marshals, two jail nurses and fellow inmate Brandon Wilson Brown who Davis alleges assaulted him.

Hornecker said Monday that he was unaware of the complaint, adding that the attorney general's office was likely handling the litigation.

"I haven't been officially served, nor has the County Attorney's Office," Hornecker said.

Davis is seeking $5,000 from each of the defendants for "pain and suffering and future medical expenses arising from the unprovoked assault."

According to the complaint, Davis is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Safford, Ariz. A search on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website indicates Davis, 49, is set to be released from prison Oct. 8 after serving his sentence for an undisclosed conviction.

In his complaint, Davis said the two U.S. marshals placed him in custody of the Fremont County sheriff on Jan. 12, 2012. Davis was a federal prisoner at the time and was contractually housed in the Lander-based jail.

Specifically, Davis filed two claims against the defendants that allege deliberate indifference to his safety and inadequate and/or denial of medical treatment.

Davis said in his complaint that he was assigned housing in the same living unit as Brown. He alleges that on or about March 16, 2012, while exercising in an authorized area within his assigned living unit, he became a victim of an "unprovoked physical assault" by Brown.

Davis alleges the sheriff and his staff knew Brown suffered from diagnosed mental illness and was prone to unprovoked attacks on other inmates and staff.

"Defendant Brown physically assaulted Plaintiff Davis, striking the Plaintiff in the left mandible, twisted the Plaintiff's neck in a choke hold and the Plaintiff suffered serious injuries," the complaint stated.

According to the document, two officers entered the living unit where the assault occurred and removed Brown to a more secure living area of the jail.

"Defendant Brown, prior to the attack and physical assault on the Plaintiff, on or about March 12, 2012, had requested placement in isolation due to his inability to cope with incarceration," the complaint continued. "Defendant Brown had been placed in isolation after an attempted assault on staff on or about March 15, 2012."

Davis alleges Brown, at all times relevant to the complaint, exhibited assaultive behavior patterns toward Davis, other inmates and two officers, which was well documented by the defendants.

The complaint stated that after the attack, two staff nurses medically evaluated Davis and denied him adequate and proper medical treatment and failed to comply with medical orders written by the jail physician.

"The Plaintiff was denied further medical treatment by the Defendants acting in concert with each other," the document read.

Davis claims the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment by negligently performing their duties.

"Defendants were aware, or should have been aware of Defendant Brown's propensity for assaultive behavior toward staff and inmates, as Defendants were aware of Defendant Brown's previous incidents of attacks on staff and inmates," the complaint stated.

Davis said he received inadequate care from the nurses for cuts and bruises and pain and discomfort. He said he continues to suffer physical injury, emotional and mental distress and psychological trauma as a result of the nurses' "wanton and deliberate indifference" to his medical needs because of the alleged assault.

On March 20, U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin ordered Davis to submit a complaint on or before May 12 that includes correct full names of defendants he listed as John Doe 1, John Doe 2, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in his original complaint. Failure to notify the court of the correct names will result in a dismissal of the case, Rankin wrote in the court order.

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