The suit alleges that a mentally ill inmate known to pose a danger to other inmates attacked his cellmate, causing severe injuries.
A former King County jail inmate filed a lawsuit against the county Tuesday, alleging that he was severely beaten by a violent cellmate known to pose a danger to others.
The suit, filed in King County Superior Court, was brought by Toby Meagher, through his mother, Geraldine McNamara, who has power of attorney over his affairs.
It alleges that Meagher, while housed in the jail in July, was placed in a cell with Troy Leae, who “bashed Mr. Meagher’s face against the cell’s steel sink and stomped on his head, which bounced hard against the concrete floor.” The attack continued until jail staff tackled and tased Leae, according to the suit.
Meagher, 43, shouldn’t have been placed into the cell because Leae had been classified an “ultra security” inmate based on his history of violence against fellow inmates, the suit alleges. Leae should have been placed in separate housing under jail policy, it says.
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A jail report on Leae’s classification described him as having a history of unprovoked assaults, gang affiliations and psychiatric issues, the suit says.
King County prosecutors have charged Leae with second-degree assault in the July incident, as well as fourth-degree assault for allegedly kicking and punching another inmate in October 2017.
The suit seeks unspecified general and punitive damages on behalf of Meagher, who is alleged to have suffered continuing physical and mental injuries, including a traumatic brain injury.
Five jail employees were also were named in the suit.
A spokeswoman for the jail couldn’t be reached for comment.
Meagher, who suffers from schizophrenia, was booked into the jail as a suspect in an assault but the case was later dismissed after Meagher was found mentally incompetent to stand trial.
Meagher is staying with family in Tukwila and Bellevue but has no permanent residence, his attorney, Tomás Gahan, said in an email.
Gahan said he wasn’t aware of other cases like those of his client, but that they could be found as the lawsuit proceeds.
Based on Meagher’s mental disability, along with “reasonable application” of policies, jail staff also should have provided separate housing for Meagher away from the general population of inmates and with special accommodations for his illness, the suit alleges.
In addition, the staff had additional opportunities to prevent the assault before it occurred but took no action, the suit said. Meagher’s “repeated requests” to be transferred away from the physically larger Leae in the days leading up to the attack were ignored by guards, it added.