Suit: Inmate injured in SC prison riot was too afraid to see doctor
The lawsuit said the inmate was attacked while hiding in his cell from known gang members during the April riot
By Emily Bohatch
The State (Columbia, S.C.)
COLUMBIA, S.C. — After being beat during a deadly riot that killed seven, a Lee Correctional Institution inmate didn't seek medical treatment for a possible broken collarbone because he was afraid of being attacked by gang members again, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.
Steven Williams, who was incarcerated on charges of assault and battery and armed robbery, was attacked while hiding in his cell from known gang members during the April riot at Lee Correctional, according to the lawsuit.
The riot, was one of the deadliest in the last 25 years, spawned a series of similar lawsuits, many echoing the same sentiments of prison overcrowding, understaffing and lax security, even in the maximum security institution.
In the lawsuit, Williams said he was in the common area of the prison's F-3 unit when fighting broke out, and an inmate covered in blood and stab wounds came running from a cell. The common area quickly became engulfed in armed and fighting inmates.
Williams tried to barricade himself in his cell as he watched known gang members stab another man to death, according to the lawsuit. The men then asked Williams where his cellmate was, and pushed their way past his barricade.
The inmates held down the 47-year-old man and "brutally attacked him," according to the lawsuit.
When the riot was over, and correctional staff began taking victims to the prison's medical wing, Williams didn't report his injuries, though he believed he may have broken his collarbone, according to the lawsuit. He was afraid of being labeled a snitch and consequently putting himself in harms way again.
The lawsuit alleges prison officials are "well aware of the existence of competing gangs," in the prison, and that care is not taken to separate violent offenders from nonviolent inmates. Those sentiments are echoed in many of the other suits filed against the prison.
©2018 The State (Columbia, S.C.)