Lake County Detention Center Correctional Officer Alicia Hathaway was arrested yesterday and charged with battery for slapping a handcuffed inmate during her shift of January 21st. All the inmate was accused of doing was cursing at her. She was immediately reported by a fellow correctional officer who witnessed the incident. That officer’s name has not been released, but we will try to figure it out if by year’s end we still want to create a Correctional Officer of the Year Award in his or her honor. Usually correctional officers are free to abuse inmates as they wish because their fellow officers cover for them, many facilities do not require officers to wear body cameras, some still don’t record footage from their surveillance cameras, and when officers know they are being recorded they make sure to only abuse inmates in blind spots. We hope that this case sends a message to other jail guards that they cannot abuse inmates without consequence.
According to public records, Alicia Anna Hathaway was booked into the Lake County Detention Center by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office on March 5, 2021 and released that same day. She was issued inmate number 144366 and booking number 21001209. Her only priors are for driving without proof of insurance and registration.
As a victim of abusive correctional officers I know first hand what I am talking about. Just last week I received a $10,000 deposit in my checking account from the federal government’s judgment fund. The deposit was the result of a monetary settlement I agreed to in exchange for dismissing a lawsuit I filed against the United States for battery by federal officers in the course of their official duties at the United States Penitentiary in Victorville, California (USP Victorville) under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). In that case I was punched in the head several times while laying in a prone position with my hands cuffed behind my back. Then I was taken to an “observation room” where I was tortured, punched in the face, and left in bone tight restraints for over an hour. The pain from bone tight handcuffs and shackles applied to all four limbs was excruciating and constant because there was not way I could sit, lay, or stand to reduce the pain. The officers all covered for one another by accusing me of slipping my cuffs, saying that they never saw anyone punch me, deliberately blocking the cameras while other officers abused me, and making sure most of what happened took place in blind spots that cameras could not see. I had to exhaust administrative remedies, file a FTCA claim, wait for that to be denied, file a lawsuit, and defeat a motion for summary judgment brought by the government seeking dismissal before they agreed to settle. I did all of that while acting as my own attorney, so I had no legal fees to seek compensation for. Even then they wouldn’t admit to any wrongdoing and maintained that they only reason for agreeing to settle was to avoid the expense of winning a trial. They tried offering me $5,000 at first but I pointed out that the government would incur more than $10,000 in additional costs if they took the case to trial. The total expenses of a trial are of course far more, but most costs like the daily operations of the court, the salaries of the government employees that would need to testify, and the salary of the government’s lawyer would be incurred no matter what those people or the court were doing during that time, so I did not try to get more. Had a single guard just told the truth I would not have settled for such a small amount, but even though my word and what the videos did show was enough to overcome summary judgment, that only meant that a jury could choose to believe me. I didn’t feel like I had a very strong hand going into a trial, which under the FTCA can only occur before a judge, because although there were some clear problems with the government’s conduct most of it was my word against theirs.
In 2017 my arm was broken by corrections deputy Timothy Barker at the Multnomah County Detention Center (MCDC) in Portland, Oregon. I had provoked Barker by threatening to dox a medical technician that I later found out to be Barker’s wife, threatening to dox other deputies if they continued to take me to the hole, and throwing a handful of chips in Barker’s face when they entered my cell. That justified using force to gain compliance in the cell, but it did not justify twisting my left arm away from my body until the humerus broke in half after I was taken to a disciplinary cell on a different floor and was fully cooperative. The guards all lied in an effort to cover it up by saying they heard a pop when forced was used in my cell on the 5th floor and falsely accused me of striking them with my feet and elbow. Those false accusations led to me being charged with assaulting federal officers resulting in bodily injury. I was held in pretrial detention for over a year as a result. Eventually my defense team obtained an expert witness report which proved that I was telling the truth (https://copblaster.com/uploads/files/expert-witness-report_compressed.pdf). Then my charge was dropped to one count of assault by means of instilling a fear of harm by throwing chips and I was offered a sentence of time served. I filed a lawsuit seeking $250,000 in compensatory damages and millions in punitive damages. That case is still pending before the District Court. There is no way that I will agree to settle that one for anything less than six figures because of the amount of pain I suffered and to this date I still have an unrebutted expert witness report. This is not just a case of my word versus theirs. It is a case of the word of a respected expert versus the words of half-wit jail guards that couldn’t collude straight. If the United States was willing to pay me $10,000 for one day of pain and suffering then Multnomah County should have to pay me at least that amount for every day of pain and suffering caused by my broken arm. Since that arm hurt for weeks then six figures would be an appropriate amount of compensatory damages in that case. After that I would argue that punitive damages would be appropriate due to the malice demonstrated and the need to deter future conduct of that nature by those in positions of authority.
If only I were lucky enough to have been in the custody of an officer like the one that told on Alicia Hathaway my life would have been much better.
Published at Sat, 06 Mar 2021 19:02:09 +0000