- Associated Press - Sunday, November 22, 2015

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - A lawsuit filed by a former Williams County inmate against a handful of police and corrections officers is expected to head to trial next year.

Justin Ferrell, of Mandan, filed a complaint in January, claiming law enforcement officials beat him, pushed him down the stairs and used a stun gun on him during his stay at the Williams County Correctional Center in September 2014. He alleges two Williston police officers injured him and six corrections officers denied him medical attention for four days, the Williston Herald (https://bit.ly/1O4WGOh ) reports.

Ferrell, 36, claims he and his brother were in their cell Sept. 5, 2014, when two police officers went inside apparently in response to inmates kicking cell doors. The kicking was coming from elsewhere, Ferrell claims.

According to the lawsuit, after the brothers were shackled and handcuffed, an officer bent Ferrell’s arm back and caused him “very intense pain.” Once out of the cell, Ferrell says he was shocked with a Taser and “went tumbling down a tall flight of stairs” while cuffed behind his back.

Officers “jumped” on Ferrell, he writes, and he claims he was shocked again while officers continued to hit him. Blood was “pouring” out of his elbow, according the lawsuit.

Ferrell’s arm had swollen to twice its size by the time corrections officers let him see an officer, the lawsuit claims. He was prescribed antibiotics for a “severe infection,” according the suit.

Ferrell had been awaiting a preliminary hearing. He was accused of leading police on a chase after they tried to pull him over for a traffic violation, and more than $1,000 in stolen tools were found inside the car he was driving.

Theft charges were eventually dismissed. Ferrell pleaded guilty to reckless driving and fleeing a police officer.

Court documents show Ferrell’s lawsuit is set for trial next November in Bismarck. Ferrell is representing himself in court and is suing for $1 million.

The Williston Police Department declined to comment. The newspaper says no one at the Williams County Sheriff’s Office was immediately available to talk about the case.

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Information from: Williston Herald, https://www.willistonherald.com


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