OCALA, Fla. – A female inmate has filed a lawsuit claiming that four Florida prison guards beat her within an inch of her life in what her attorney called the “worst case of prison abuse in Florida I’ve ever seen.”
Cheryl Weimar says she’s now paralyzed from the neck down after four male prison guards attacked her, reportedly leaving her with “serious and life-threatening injuries, including a broken neck,” according to the district court complaint.
Weimar says she was the victim of the brutal assault on August 21 in Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida.
51-year-old Weimar was originally sentenced to six years in the Florida corrections system after being convicted of slashing her ex-boyfriend with a knife and resisting arrest. She was scheduled to be released in 2021.
According to Fox’s report, Weimar has documented preexisting physical and mental conditions, which prison officials were aware of. According to the lawsuit, Weimar was asked to clean the restrooms inside the Ocala facility but was unable to complete the task due to her physical limitations in her hip.
The suit claims that Weimar asked for a “reasonable accommodation for her physical disability in connection with her prison work assignment” and “a confrontation ensued.”
The lawsuit said that tensions rose and the corrections officers became more agitated and aggressive.
“Under FDC policy and procedure, prison officials should have called medical personnel to intervene once Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar declared an inmate medical emergency,” the lawsuit read. “The more Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar complained of her physical condition, the more angry, aggressive, and violent the John Doe Defendants became. “
All of a sudden, one of the guards snapped, the lawsuit claimed.
“One or more of the John Doe Defendants slammed Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar to the ground” and “while down, they brutally beat her with blows to her head, neck, and back. At least one John Doe Defendant elbowed Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar in the back of her neck, causing her to suffer a broken neck.”
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The lawsuit goes on to say that the unidentified prison officials moved Weimar to an area not monitored by surveillance.
The defendants then allegedly dragged Weimar “like a rag doll to a nearby wheelchair, allowing her head to bounce along the ground along the way,” then brought her “outside the compound so they could continue their brutal attack in an area that was not covered by surveillance cameras,” the lawsuit claims.
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After the vicious assault, Weimar was left paralyzed. She now has to breathe and eat through a tube.
“She is going to need lifelong care, around-the-clock care for the rest of her life,” said Attorney Ryan Andrews, who is representing Weimar in the lawsuit.
He said the alleged beating was so bad, he could barely communicate with his client.
“It was one of the most sad meetings with a client I ever had – she couldn’t talk… I had to write the alphabet out so she could nod and wink and tell me what to do,” he said. “It’s the worst case of prison abuse in Florida I’ve ever seen.”
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Weimar is now seeking compensation for the attack.
The suit is asking for “compensatory damages, including for permanent physical injury, disfigurement, and emotional pain and suffering… for attorney’s fees and costs incurred in connection with this litigation, and for such other relief as this court deems appropriate.”
The prison officials who were allegedly involved in the incident have been transferred to other duties within the correctional facility where they no longer have any contact with inmates until the investigation is concluded, the Florida Department of Corrections confirmed.
“We recognize that preliminary reports from this incident are concerning,” the department’s secretary, Mark Inch, said. “We’re committed to examining all the details regarding this situation and ensuring appropriate action is taken.”
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