November 25, 2017
ArchCity Defenders with co-counsel Michael Schwade of Kodner Watkins has filed a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Daniel Williams, a 56 year old man who was beaten up by a group of St. Louis City officers in 2015 and then was twice-wrongfully-jailed in the St. Louis City Justice Center where his medical needs were ignored and neglected for several months. The suit alleges constitutional violations of the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments and asserts state claims for police assault, battery, and negligence by Corizon Health, Inc..
“The police treat homeless people bad– they look down on the homeless, they come up and harass us. It’s a free country, right? Anyone else standing around– waiting for a ball game, they don’t get bothered the same as the homeless,” said Mr. Williams, who has survived chronic homelessness and mental illness.
The lawsuit is an individual action against the City of St. Louis Dept. of Corrections, Corizon Health (the medical provider within the St. Louis City Jail), and several Doe police officers who beat up Daniel shortly before Thanksgiving in 2015. Just before Daniel’s birthday in December 2015, he was arrested and held for 154 days without bail and without being charged with any offense. During that time, his medical care was denied almost entirely, causing him dangerous blood pressure complications, a heart-attack-like episode (where they simply “observed” Daniel without rendering any aid), diabetes-related problems, and night terrors and suicidal ideations due to his unmedicated schizophrenia. Upon release, Daniel was charged with bogus municipal citations that ArchCity helped him get dismissed.
A couple months later, the City arrested Daniel again, claiming he was a fugitive felon from the State of Michigan. He again stayed in the same jail for months without bail, without proper medical care, and, this time, without access to the jail’s law library. Mr. Williams was told he’d be “gone in 90 days” by the correctional officers and case workers inside, and that he was “not their problem” because of that. His extradition charges were ultimately dismissed by Judge Peebles and Daniel was freed, again.
Since 2015, ArchCity Defenders has filed several civil rights lawsuits alleging police misconduct and brutality, debtors’ prison, cash bail, and malicious prosecution. This is the thirteenth suit filed that asserts police misconduct claims. A link to the filed complaint may be found here.
Z. Gorley, Communications Director at ArchCity Defenders