Man sues Hamblen County officials for $5M over jail beating

MORRISTOWN (WATE) – A Hamblen County man is suing for $5 million, saying he was brutally beaten at the county jail by another inmate, a situation allegedly caused by indifference by jail officials and overcrowding.

Jeremy Garcia, 40, who is “intellectually disabled” according to the suit, had been repeatedly threatened by a group of inmates called “The House” in September 2014 and was transferred to another part of the jail. In February 2015, according to the suit, Garcia was incarcerated again at the jail, described as “overcrowded and understaffed.”

Garcia’s attorney says in the suit that he realized the men who previously threatened him were still in the jail and pleaded to not be housed with them, but his pleas were ignored. Then, according to the suit, a member of “The House” paid another inmate to beat Garcia while he slept on the jail floor, leading to multiple broken bones in his face, several cuts and bruises, a concussion and a hemorrhage in his eye.

Web Extra: Read the full lawsuit [PDF]

The suit says Garcia had to undergo emergency surgery, requiring plates and screws to be inserted into his face. Garcia was also left with post-traumatic stress and severe cognitive difficulties which require ongoing therapy.

One inmate was charged with and indicted for aggravated assault and is awaiting trial, but the suit says no other inmate was charged and no jail staff members were reprimanded or disciplined.

Garcia’s attorney says policies, customs and/or practices have turned the jail into a “house of mayhem” where inmates are packed together, poorly supervised, unmonitored, not properly separated and housed in a building not conducive to inmate safety.

Garcia is seeking compensatory and punitive damages totaling $5 million, plus medical costs, court costs and attorney fees.

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