A man severely injured in a jailhouse attack last year at Orleans Parish Prison filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against Sheriff Marlin Gusman, blaming an unnamed deputy for failing to supervise the inmates responsible for the assault.
Bruce Hall, 28, was hospitalized for several days following the Jan. 22, 2015, beating, which authorities said occurred at the now-shuttered Conchetta facility on Tulane Avenue.
Hall’s mother, Beryl Foley, told The New Orleans Advocate at the time that the attack had affected her son’s speech and left him incoherent even after a stint in intensive care.
“The only thing I can think about is the pain my child endured,” Foley said at the time, adding that Hall was no longer “the same person that went into (the jail).”
The lawsuit, one of many that have sought to hold Gusman liable for inmate violence, claims conditions at the lockup “contributed to the extensive and permanent injuries from which (Hall) suffers and continues to live with every day.”
Javon Tapp and Theron Carter, both 19, have pleaded guilty to attacking Hall. Carter was placed on probation after admitting to second-degree battery, a felony. Tapp served 90 days after pleading guilty to the lesser charge of simple battery, according to court records. Tapp is serving a far lengthier prison term for distributing marijuana.
While Carter initially claimed he acted in self-defense, a Sheriff’s Office report said he stomped on Hall and kicked him in the head as Hall lay on the floor, leaving him “unable to speak or understand anything.”
The lawsuit points the finger at a deputy, identified only as John Doe, who it says was “unreasonable in his delay in stopping the attack, as well as administering any medical care or assistance.” That delay, the lawsuit claims, amounted to “cruel and unusual punishment” for Hall.
“Orleans Parish Prison has repeatedly evidenced a policy of inadequately trained police officers and staff,” the lawsuit states.
Hall, who was deemed mentally competent to stand trial after the beating, pleaded guilty last year to attempted armed robbery and was sentenced to a year behind bars.
Violence at the Orleans Parish jail was among a litany of factors that prompted a federal judge in 2013 to order sweeping reforms at the lockup.
Follow Jim Mustian on Twitter, @JimMustian.