Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Man in wheelchair files suit vs. Grant Co. jail

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILLIAMSTOWN - A 54-year-old Cordova resident has become the seventh person in five months to file a federal lawsuit against the Grant County jail.

In a suit filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Covington, George Overby claims he was assaulted by guards while handcuffed at the jail.

Overby was incarcerated in August 2002 for a probation violation in Grant County.

Overby, who uses a wheelchair because of a spinal cord injury he received in 1996, says the attack by guards was made worse because the 300-bed facility is not handicap accessible.

Jailer Steve Kellam said he had not read the suit and declined to comment.

Grant County Judge-executive Darrell Link, also served with the suit, was out of the office Monday and could not be reached for comment.

Covington attorney Don Nageleisen, who is representing Overby, says his client was doused with a chemical irritant, sprayed down with cold water and left in an isolation cell shivering, cold and unable to get up from the floor because of his physical handicap.

Nageleisen said Overby was forced to lay and sleep in his own urine for long periods, all the while being further humiliated and antagonized by deputy jailers because of his inability to raise himself off the ground.

A similar theme in many of the lawsuits, including Overby's, is that inmates were placed in isolation cells to allow their injuries to heal in an attempt to cover up jail beatings.

Overby claims in his suit that former jail nurse Sandra Cook, 48, of Williamstown failed to treat him properly or to see that he was taken to the hospital, located three to five minutes from the jail.

In July, Cook filed her own lawsuit in against the jail.

She claims she was fired for reporting suspected violations of federal and state laws at the jail.


E-mail jhannah@enquire.com

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