JAY - A complaint lawsuit has been filed by seven Delaware County inmates.
On Tuesday, June 30, John Banks, Nickalas Berry, James Dilley, Thomas Owen, Robert Scott, Randy Wiggins and Garl Williams Jr. filed a lawsuit against the Delaware County Sheriff Harlan Moore, the County Commissioners and Charles Hayes and Shelley Mayberry, both former detention officers for the county.
In the complaint, the inmates, who were all housed at the Delaware County jail awaiting trial, recounted seven incidents where Hayes, Mayberry, Sheriff Moore and the County Commissioners "reflect a deliberate indifference to the rights of the [inmates] and a callous disregard for their safety and wellbeing and a reckless disregard for their rights".
According to the complaint, the first incident happened on or around December 13, 2019, Hayes, armed with a taser capable of 50,000 volt, threatened Williams with explicit sexual assault and then proceeded to use the taser on the inmate without cause or provocation.
Another incident took place on December 19, 2019. Hayes again used his taser without cause or provocation, this time on Wiggins.
In three separate incidents taking place on or about December 19, 2019, Hayes confronted Scott, Dilley and Berry individually and used his taser on them without provocation.
In a sixth incident, taking place on December 20, 2019, Hayes used his taser on Owen, again without cause or provocation.
The final incident happened on or about December 20, 2019, when Hayes used his taser on Banks, without cause or provocation.
Mayberry is listed on the complaint for her verbal abuse of the inmates during the confrontations, for encouraging Hayes to deploy his taser and for her failure to intervene when Hayes inflicted injury to the inmates.
The inmates reported the abuse, filling out two incident reports with Detention Officer Cody Hanson. According to the complaint, the reports have been requested, but denied by the Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office.
The complaint also references the history of trading verbal humiliation via "threats of physical violence, threats of sexual assault and actual battery upon inmates" for cigarettes, e-cigs or "things that could not generally obtain for themselves in custody". The lawsuit also states that Sheriff Moore "established the policy, custom, usage and practice that detention officers and other employees of the Sheriff of Delaware County are permitted to use tasers for the sole purpose of punishing inmates without due process and to sadistically and maliciously inflict pain on the inmates for no reasonable governmental purpose".
In the complaint, Hayes told his superiors that he "believed that making threats and gestures to the inmates with the taser, sparking it towards the inmates and touching the inmates with the taser was justified to build rapport with the inmates so he was not required to use the taser in the future.
The inmates are seeking $75,000 in damages for assault and battery, plus reasonable attorney fees, costs and interest that the court deems equitable.