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Lawsuit over Missouri jail beating settled for nearly $440K

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former inmate who alleged guards at a troubled jail in Kansas City beat him so severely that he suffered nine broken ribs, fractured wrists and a collapsed lung has settled a lawsuit for $437,500.

Jackson County agreed Monday to the settlement with James Ramirez, whose lawsuit is one of many filed by former inmates in recent months, The Kansas City Star ( ) reported. Ramirez' suit alleged that there was "a widespread pattern of using excessive force" against inmates at the Jackson County Detention Center and that guards twice attacked him on July 4, 2015. Four of those guards have been indicted on federal charges alleging that they violated Ramirez' civil rights.

An FBI investigation of the jail is ongoing. Two weeks ago, about 200 law enforcers raided the jail. The search came as two guards were arrested in a contraband smuggling operation.

Additionally, at least three inmate-on-inmate sexual assaults and one death that raised questions about the sufficiency of medical care have led to subsequent investigations and provoked county officials to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on consultants. A suit alleging that lax security led to an inmate's sexual assault resulted in a $275,000 settlement earlier this year.

Ramirez alleged in his lawsuit that he was set upon by three guards while he was being held on a Benton County warrant for an alleged probation violation. The suit said the guards slammed him into a cinder block wall, punched him repeatedly and pinned him to the floor with knees to his back and neck as other guards allegedly laughed. The suit said the attack ended when another guard signaled that a supervisor was approaching.

The suit said the beating resumed later that night. Nine hours after the first attack, Ramirez was admitted to a hospital with multiple bruises, the broken wrists and ribs, collapsed lung and three fractured vertebrae.

Defendants in Ramirez' lawsuit included the correctional officers accused of administering the beatings, a guard who allegedly stood by and kept watch during the first of the two assaults, as well as the top officials in charge of the Corrections Department.

Marshanna Hester, a county spokesman, told The Associated Press the terms of the settlement are confidential and that the county couldn't discuss the case.


Information from: The Kansas City Star,

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