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McLennan County Being Sued for Negligent Treatment of Local Resident
After being arrested by the Waco Police Department on September 2, 2021, Marvin Berry, was taken to McLennan County Jail to be processed. He informed the jail staff of a medical condition requiring him to be assigned to a bottom bunk.
The booking officer made annotations on his booking file listing the medical condition and the need for a bottom bunk; however, what has been stated as occurring in the federal lawsuit is nothing short of appalling.
For approximately three days, Berry asked jail staff for a bottom bunk. Other inmates housed with Berry offered to change bunks, but the jail staff overruled the offerings. On September 6, 2021, at 4:06 a.m., Berry had a seizure. This was the medical condition he highlighted with the booking staff. Berry was on the top bunk. Why was Berry on the top bunk? Because he was not assigned a bottom bunk and he was scolded by jail staff to get off the floor and sleep on the top bunk.
Berry’s seizure caused him to fall from the top bunk to the ground. Jail staff went to check on Berry and he was handcuffed and taken by a wheelchair to medical – while his seizure was ongoing. Berry states in his lawsuit, he was assaulted by the by jail staff when he was taken to medical. He cites that he was struck in the face, kicked in each leg, thrown to the ground, and held there by multiplied jailers. He even claims he was tased by two different officers. The tasing, per Berry, was while he was still handcuffed.
The only thing Berry could utter under the conditions was a familiar statement heard before – in other law enforcement setting – “I can’t breathe!”
McLennon County Resident Taken to Local Hospital
The situation got worse, per court filings. Berry went into full cardiac arrest. Jail staff had to perform CPR and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) until the ambulance arrived. Berry was taken to Providence Hospital were he had another full cardiac episode and was resuscitated by the hospital medical staff.
Berry, per court filings, was unnecessarily and wantonly inflicted pain and serious injuries in a sadistic manner by the jail staff and it was their purpose to cause him harm.
Berry now suffers from vision loss, ongoing loss of sleep, severe degraded quality of life, speech problems, and other psychological and physical injuries.
Claims of Mistreatment Before Berry Was Placed in His Cell
Berry, in court filings, details a booking process where he was subjected to excessive force. He claims, prior to arriving to the McLennon County Jail, he was already restrained by handcuffs, shackles, and a restraint wrap. He was unable to move much in such device, but it did not stop the jail staff from using force, per Berry, beyond what was needed to control the situation. Berry states a jailer place his knee in Berry’s thigh and genital area as Berry sat completely restrained on a lobby intake bench.
Berry states he was thrown from the bench onto the ground and a jailer placed a knee on his neck. There, he was held down for an extensive amount of time. Eventually, Berry was placed in a restraint chair and a jailer placed his knee in Berry’s thigh and genital area again.
Some Jail Staff Statements
Corporal Morales said, “I applied knee strikes to his left leg and instructed him to stop kicking.
Officer Hernandez said, “Inmate began moving his lower body and began kicked his legs where (sic) Cpl. K. Morales was attempting to gain control of. I then attempted to apply 3 knee strikes to inmates left perineal nerve in his thigh area.”
Officer Vazquez said, “In order to gain compliance of inmate Berry, I proceeded to place a Hypoglossal Nerve pressure point on Inmate Berry to avoid Berry bitting Officer Davis.” “I attempted to deliver 3 knee strikes to his common perineal nerve motor and due to inmate Berry continuously moving I struck inmate on his right hip to attempt to gain compliance.”Plaintiff’s Original Complaint & Jury Demand, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, on August 30, 2023. Case: 6:23-cv-00636
It is unclear, based on the filing, if the statements made were related to the seizure or something else; however, the McLennon County jail stated:
“[A]fter reviewing the use of force that occurred on September 6, 2021, at approximately 0400 with inmate Berry, Marvin (87767), the use of force was reasonable.”Plaintiff’s Original Complaint & Jury Demand, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division, on August 30, 2023. Case: 6:23-cv-00636
The McLennon County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to the lawsuit, as it was just filed. However, the initial precautions of where to sleep could have prevented the situation. Now, the county will have time to respond to the allegations.
A Couple of Our Other Reads
You may be interested in reading our publishing on a local Hays County Attorney’s claims of jailer abuse.
Or you may find our publishing related to the Hays County jail and whether it is an unsafe environment.
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