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Inmate sues COs, doctor over loss of Air Jordans

Inmate Andrew Coe alleges he was injured after falling twice in 2014 after his high-top shoes were confiscated


By Edith Brady-Lunny
The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.

CHICAGO — A Bloomington man serving prison time on drug charges is suing four Department of Corrections officers and a doctor over injuries he blames on the confiscation of his Air Jordan shoes.

In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Andrew Coe alleges he was injured after falling twice in 2014 at Stateville Correctional Center after his high-top shoes were confiscated. 

Andrew Coe alleges the injuries were the result of the state replacing his shoes with others that failed to support leg braces he wears because of paralysis below both ankles. (Photo/Illinois DOC)
Andrew Coe alleges the injuries were the result of the state replacing his shoes with others that failed to support leg braces he wears because of paralysis below both ankles. (Photo/Illinois DOC)

Coe, who is serving 18 years on McLean County drug charges, claims the injuries were the result of the state replacing his shoes with others that failed to support leg braces he wears because of paralysis below both ankles, an injury caused by a 1999 gunshot wound.

Coe's case against the four workers and doctor is moving forward in federal court with depositions scheduled for later this month.

In his May 2017 ruling dismissing a portion of the lawsuit against the officers, U.S. District Court Judge Robert M. Dow Jr. noted, "This case involves the rare intersection of the Eighth Amendment and Air Jordan basketball shoes."

On Sept. 26, 2014, Coe arrived at Stateville in Joliet wearing Air Jordan shoes and "was allowed to keep those shoes for the time being," according to court records.

A doctor with Wexford Health Sources Inc., the health care provider for Illinois prisons, gave Coe a permit for braces and high-top shoes but a decision by the doctor a month later left Coe with shoes that did not hold his braces in place, said the lawsuit.

Court records state that after two falls that injured the inmate's toes, an unidentified doctor told IDOC staff members Brandi Walker and Darrin Atkins that Coe needed Air Jordans or a similar high-top shoes.

The officers deny Coe's allegation that they acted with indifference to his medical condition and delayed treatment of his injuries.

The inmate was provided proper footwear to support the braces in December 2014, said court records.

Before his 2016 sentencing in McLean County, Coe, now 37, served as his own lawyer in a three-day drug trial. He was accused of grabbing a bag containing 10 smaller bags of cocaine and putting it in his mouth as officers tried to place him in handcuffs. 

A jury convicted Coe of the felony drug charges after about an hour of deliberations.

A federal lawsuit filed by Coe against several Bloomington police officers involved in the drug arrest was dismissed.

©2018 The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Ill.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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