North Carolina Police Brutality: Inmate Wins $10,000 Personal Injury Settlement Over Alleged Pepper Spray Abuse

September 8, 2010, by Michael A. DeMayo

Prison inmate Bill Rayburn will receive a $10,000 North Carolina personal injury settlement from the state over alleged incidents of pepper spray abuse. State officials say that they are not admitting liability by settling. Rather, they are reaching a compromise over the dispute. However, earlier, the North Carolina Department of Correction had determined that employees involved in the alleged incidents were in violation of the use-of-force policy. As a result, several employees were disciplined and a top administrator was replaced.

Per the use-of-force policy, guards can use pepper spray for self-defense or to hinder inmates that are behaving in a threatening, violent, or aggressive manner. Inmates should then immediately be allowed to wash off the chemicals from the spray.

Rayburn claims that he was sprayed on four occasions last year at Lanesboro Correctional Institution and that the policy was not followed. For example on January 13, 2009, correction officers allegedly doused him and his bed with the spray, which contains hot peppers and can be extremely painful, after he called for help following a panic attack.

In Rayburn’s North Carolina excessive use of force complaint, he says that a female guard sprayed his genitals and that more than one can of pepper spray was used on him. The guards then allegedly left him on the shower floor and he was unable to wash the painful chemicals off until the next shift of prison guards arrived.

Rayburn is now at a new prison.

North Carolina Police Brutality
Excessive use of force by law enforcement officers is never warranted—even if you have been convicted for a crime. Unfortunately, many people don’t report incidents of Charlotte, North Carolina police brutality because they are too scared and don’t realize that their civil rights have been violated. Verbal abuse, sexual assaults, threats, emotional blackmail, and physical violence are just a few examples of the different types of police violence that can occur.

State settles with inmate over claim of pepper spray abuse, Charlotte Observer, September 8, 2010

NC prisoner who sued over pepper spray gets $10K, WCNC/AP, September 8, 2010

Related Web Resources:
Lanesboro Correctional Institution

North Carolina Department of Correction


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