The University of New Mexico Hospital received a level two trauma patient in March of this year. The man had a fractured rib, lacerated spleen and a collapsed lung. He says that guards at a Valencia County Jail used excessive force when he was being processed after an arrest.
The man was reportedly instructed to undress in a holding cell, which he did, except for a facemask he was wearing at the time. He wears a partial denture in his mouth, which apparently came loose. When the man used his tongue to readjust his false teeth, he says the guards accused him of trying to swallow something. Details of the events that followed are now part of a formal complaint that the inmate has filed against the guards.
The man’s cheek was cut
The complaint states that the man removed his facemask to show the guards the removable denture in his mouth, at which time, one of the guard’s is said to have squeezed the man’s cheeks so hard that the denture cut the inside of his mouth. The man says that immediately after that, the guard slammed his head against the wall. An attorney representing the man says that several guards then entered the cell, piled onto him and began beating him.
Pepper spray was used on the inmate
The attorney also said that while his client was naked in the cell, guards pepper sprayed his face, punched and kicked him and continued to bash his head into the wall. The man’s requests to go to a hospital were reportedly denied. He was released from jail later that day and walked five miles before finding a ride home, at which point, he called 911 and, after arriving at one hospital, was transported to another that was better equipped to handle his high-level injuries. The man is now suing for damages, citing excessive use of force.