A federal lawsuit has been filed against Pike County jail officials by a former inmate who says he was "savagely beaten" by at least one other cellmate last year after jail officials ignored his requests to change cells.
Gregory Blackburn of Pikeville was being held at the Pike County Detention Center on March 28 for non-payment of fines when he was found beaten in his cell, according to the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Lexington. Blackburn had asked jail officials to move him to another cell because of problems with cellmates, but his request was never granted, the lawsuit says.
"I think he simply felt that he was at risk in that particular cell for whatever reason and tried to communicate that to the officer," Blackburn's attorney, Gregory Belzley of Prospect, said Tuesday.
Blackburn was found badly beaten after he asked jail officials to move him. According to the lawsuit, he was not taken to a hospital until a police officer who was visiting the jail volunteered to do so.
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He suffered "numerous fractures, cuts and contusions to his face and other parts of his body as a consequence of his beating, and is still undergoing treatment and reconstructive surgery," the lawsuit says.
"A lot of his facial bones were fractured," Belzley said. "He was beaten very severely."
Pike County, Jailer Rodney Scott and several unknown employees of the jail are named as defendants in the lawsuit. Blackburn's lawsuit says the defendants failed to protect him and were indifferent to his medical needs.
Reached by phone Tuesday, Scott said he was not aware of the lawsuit and did not have details about the case.
Belzley said he did not know how many inmates were involved in the beating, and he was not yet sure Tuesday whether charges had been filed against any inmates.
Blackburn is seeking actual and punitive damages.