HCB Attorneys Michael Condon and Tony Fioretti Vindicate County Correctional Officers at Trial

February 20, 2019

A jury in the Central District of Illinois found in favor of three Kankakee County correctional officers, a corrections corporal, and a nurse in McKinstry v. Austin, et al. Case No. 16-cv-02336 (C.D. Ill. February 14, 2019). Plaintiff, Jamicquin McKinstry a pre-trial detainee at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee, Illinois alleged that the Corporal utilized excessive force when tasing him during a cell extraction, that another corrections officer used excessive force by handcuffing the plaintiff too tightly, and that all four corrections officials used excessive restraint by securing him in a restraint chair. McKinstry also alleged that the jail nurse failed to adequately treat his injuries after the altercation.

Over the course of a three-day jury trial in Springfield, Illinois, the evidence showed that the Plaintiff, who was housed in disciplinary segregation for misbehavior, was suspected of flooding his housing unit. The officers observed Plaintiff pushing water out of his cell while another detainee had been released to clean up the unit. In order to prevent further disruption, Plaintiff was extracted from his cell by the officers. Plaintiff was given at least two orders by the Corporal to get down on the ground with his hands behind his back. Instead of complying, the Plaintiff retreated in his cell and turned away from the officers. A taser was deployed to gain Plaintiff’s compliance with the orders. Plaintiff was then secured in handcuffs and taken to the restraint chair to prevent him from flooding further while the unit was cleaned up. Plaintiff complained that his handcuffs were too tight, and an officer adjusted them to fit, while double-locking them to make sure he remained secure. When Plaintiff was returned to his cell, he requested medical attention and the jail nurse examined the superficial cuts on his arms, and provided first-aid.

The jury heard evidence from the officers, two former detainees, the nurse, and the Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged that he had non-specified back and shoulder injuries from the altercation, and that he requested further medical attention, but received none. The officers testified that Plaintiff was tased for his failure to comply with orders, and was restrained to restore order within the facility. The nurse testified she provided treatment to the only injuries of which she had been made aware. There was no evidence that the nurse had received any other medical requests from the Plaintiff related to any shoulder or back injuries until over a year-and-a-half later. The jury found in favor of the Kankakee County officers and the nurse on all of the Plaintiff’s claims. The Defendants were represented at trial by Michael Condon and Tony Fioretti.

McKinstry v. Austin, et al. Case No. 16-cv-02336 (C.D. Ill. February 14, 2019).

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