The state of Ohio has agreed to pay $17.5 million to a 21-year-old man who was paralyzed after he was tackled by correctional officers, his attorney announced Monday.
Seth Fletcher was two months away from his release from the Chillicothe Correctional Institution when two prison guards tackled and struck him with "sadistic and malicious force" in April 2020, resulting in critical injuries, including quadriplegia, according to the lawsuit.
"The torture and crippling of a prisoner in America sounds medieval. Yet it happened, here, in America, in 2020. As horrific as this case is, I want to thank the Ohio Attorney General's office and Governor Dewine for accepting responsibility in this most horrific of cases. This abuse should never happen again," attorney Geoffrey Fieger said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation and Correction acknowledged the existence of the settlement to CBS News and said the terms of the agreement are still being finalized.
According to the complaint, the two officers, "did in fact, participate in, authorized, ratified and/or failed to intervene to prevent sadistic, malicious and excessive uses of force under the circumstances, and acted willfully, wantonly, maliciously and with deliberate indifference to and callous disregard for Seth Fletcher's constitutional rights, and in a manner that shocks the conscience and offends traditional notions of decency."
In Fletcher's lawsuit, his attorneys claimed the guards knew they had left him seriously injured and that he required medical attention but "chose to ignore the condition," and left him alone in a cell for two days before he was taken to a hospital.
When Fletcher had asked for water, the attorneys claimed the officers poured it over his face and then one posted on Facebook, "we also water board[ed] him LMAO."
Fletcher had been serving a two-year prison term for pandering sex material involving minors when he was 18.
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