Denver Sheriff's Deputy Ignored Inmate's Screams in Attack...
The Denver Post, January 30, 2014
Jamal Hunter says in the civil rights lawsuit that the deputy not only failed to protect him from the July 2011 attack but also facilitated and encouraged it. Video surveillance filed as part of the lawsuit shows the deputy, Gaynel Rumer, walking around the cell block in the Downtown Denver Detention Center without looking directly inside the cell where Hunter was being beaten.
Court documents filed in federal court Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014 claim a Denver sheriff's deputy knew about and facilitated the brutal beating and scalding of an inmate. (Video released via federal civil rights lawsuit)
The filings include testimony from several inmates who were in the cellblock at the time who said they are still haunted by the sounds of Hunter's prolonged screams.
The filings paint a portrait of an out-of-control cellblock run by gangs, where inmates brewed "hooch" by the gallon and dealt in contraband and frequently fought. Contributing was Rumer, who inmates said smelled of alcohol and agitated inmates to fight by sharing with them details of each other's grievances and pointing out the sex offenders. When he wasn't involved in escalating problems, inmates testified, he often ignored them.
Hunter, now 39, said he was attacked after his cellmates in Cell 103 accused him of snitching and insulting them behind their backs. He said they punched him, broke his nose, tied his legs and later burned his genitals with boiling water they got from a spigot to which inmates apparently had unfettered access.
The lawsuit says Rumer, who is still on the job after a 40-day suspension, knew Hunter would be assaulted because of his relationship with the attackers
Rumer denies the inmates' allegations, said his attorney Thomas Rice, adding that the court filings were the first he had heard about the inmate witnesses.
The latest details were contained in documents filed this week in connection with the lawsuit, which has been pending since 2012.
The case was among the high-profile misconduct issues that shook the sheriff's department in recent months. Among those who were deposed as part of the lawsuit was former Division Chief Michael Than, who abruptly resigned last month while facing his own misconduct allegations.
Hunter said Rumer's pod was dangerous. On the day of the attack, Rumer turned the lights off in Cell 103. He said it was because inmates complained that they were hot, but the inmates said he did so to keep the fight off surveillance cameras.
Page said Rumer hated Hunter "because Hunter would openly make fun of him for being a drunk."
Sgt. Karolina Sich, who was Rumer's supervisor, said in her deposition that his "rapid pace passing the cells" reinforced her feeling that Rumer wasn't being entirely truthful with her about the attack.
She said the thought of Rumer's possible involvement in the incident had crossed her mind.
None of the inmates involved in the attack, which Hunter says left him permanently scarred, was charged with a crime.
Others named in Hunter's lawsuit include the city of Denver and Deputy Edward Keller, who Hunter said beat him after he was already injured in the attack. The grievance Hunter filed in that incident spurred the city's independent monitor to launch an investigation that found the department failed to formally investigate dozens of serious allegations of deputy misconduct.
Maj. Frank Gale, a department spokesman, said he could not comment on pending litigation.
"We've got to wait for our day in court," he said.
Sadie Gurman: 303-954-1661, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/sgurman
Affidavit of then-inmate Amos Page in case of Gaynel Rumer
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