Disabled Woman Is Now Paralyzed After Being Savagely Beaten By Prison Guards—Inmate Speaks Out
September 9th 2019
By Leslie Salzillo (of the Daily Kos community)
On August 21, 2019, female inmate Cheryl Weimer from Lowell Correctional Institution in Florida, was reportedly beaten nearly to death by four prison guards. Weimer, 51, is now suing the institution. The lawsuit claims:
“One or more of the John Doe Defendants slammed Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar to the ground … while down, they brutally beat her with blows to her head, neck, and back,” it continued. “At least one John Doe Defendant elbowed Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar in the back of her neck, causing her to suffer a broken neck.”
The complaint adds:
“Under FDC policy and procedure, prison officials should have called medical personnel to intervene once Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar declared an inmate medical emergency,” the lawsuit read. “The more Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar complained of her physical condition, the more angry, aggressive, and violent the John Doe Defendants became.“
Cheryl Weimer, who was already physically and mentally disabled before the beating, is still in the hospital under guard supervision. Her attorney, Ryan Andrews said he was prevented by the guards from taking photos/videos of Weimer’s injuries. He finally got permission on Saturday—two weeks after the officers allegedly broke her neck while beating her. Due to a hip condition, Weimer told the guards she couldn’t clean a toilet. In fear they were going to hurt her, she declared a mental health emergency. It was then the guards began beating her. A surveillance camera hopefully captured the incident, but no video has been turned over to date.
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Andrews believes his client will need round-the-clock care for the remainder of her life and added,
“It was one of the most sad meetings with a client I ever had – she couldn’t talk… I had to write the alphabet out so she could nod and wink and tell me what to do,” he added. “It’s the worst case of prison abuse in Florida I’ve ever seen.”
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections said the claims are being investigated.
We recognize that preliminary reports from this incident are concerning,” the department’s statement read. “We’re committed to examing all the details regarding this situation and ensuring appropriate action is taken.”
Local activist group, Change Is Now, posted a video on Facebook that includes photos of women who have died in prison due to abuse or medical neglect. Here is one of their statements from their Saturday protest.
“Lowell Correctional family, friends and formerly incarcerated have sat silent long enough while our daughters, sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and other women incarcerated in Lowell Correctional Institution have been harmed in one way or another.”
On Thursday, a former Lowell inmate, Jordyn Cahill, took to YouTube to voice her outrage and disgust over Cheryl Weimer’s brutal beating and the lack of media coverage. After giving some of her background and experiences while incarcerated, Cahill says she now has “nothing to lose” and begins to name prison officials who allegedly abused her and other inmates. Here is a quote from Cahill’s video, followed by the YouTube clip.
“For Cheryl, or any other incarcerated woman who has been physically abused or sexually abused, I am going to tell my story. I’m going to promte to others to tell their story and I’m going to share the fuck out of it.”
As media attention grows, this could be the case that wakes up the public and creates some national discourse. Before it can be stopped, monstrous abuse like that of Cheryl Weimer’s—must be exposed.
Here are three things we can do now:
1. Email/call/contact Lowell Correctional Institution to express outrage.
Warden: Stephen Rossiter
General Email: Lowell Correctional Institution
Address: 11120 NW Gainesville Road, Ocala, Florida 34482-1479
Phone (352) 690-8900
2. Share anything you find about this case by reputable sources and post them on your own social networks.
3. Know what’s happening at your state and local correctional institutions.
Violence against women in prison is rampant with little accountability if any. The reasons are obvious.
The imbalance of power between inmates and guards is a result of prisoners’ total dependency on correctional officers and guards’ability to withhold privileges and is manifest in direct physical force and indirect abuses. Because incarcerated women are largely invisible to the public eye, little is done when the punishment of imprisonment is compounded with that of rape, sexual assault, groping during body searches, and shackling during childbirth. Women are often coerced into providing sex for “favors” such as extrafood or personal hygiene products, or to avoid punishment. Furthermore, there is little medical or psychological care available to inmates. Though crimes in prison, such as rape, are prevalent, few perpetrators of violence against female inmates are ever held accountable. In 1997, for example, only ten prison employees in the entire federal system were disciplined for sexual misconduct.
Hopefully, the lack of accountability is about to change.
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Posted with permission