jail overcrowding
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Bunk beds for inmates fill one of the areas of the El Paso County Jail on Tueday, August 22, 2017. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

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A former El Paso County jail inmate with multiple sclerosis has suffered lasting effects after falling on his head from an upper bunk, according to a lawsuit filed in 4th Judicial District Court in December.

Vincent Motley, 37, experiences headaches and memory loss after hitting his head during the fall, said his attorney, Justin Bailey, who named several jail staff as defendants in the lawsuit.

Motley fell March 4, about eight hours after jail deputies Heather Stamper and Philip Barker moved him to a top bunk, the lawsuit states. When Motley protested that he needed a bottom bunk because of his condition, he was ordered to get into his cell, Bailey said in the complaint.

The fall left Motley in a pool of blood from a cut to his head and caused him “concussive symptoms,” according to the lawsuit.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jackie Kirby declined to respond to the lawsuit, citing a policy of not responding to pending litigation.

From late September 2017 to mid-June 2018, Motley was being held at the jail on a felony charge of sexual contact with an at-risk adult or juvenile without consent. The charge was dismissed just days before the case was set to go to trial, according to court records.

Stamper, Barker and two other unnamed jail employees are listed as defendants in the lawsuit. The county and Sheriff Bill Elder were not listed as parties in the lawsuit.

“We are investigating the systems in place and extent of negligence in supervision,” Bailey said in an email.

Attempts to reach Stamper and Barker through Kirby were unsuccessful. Stamper did not respond to an email requesting comment, and Barker could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.

Multiple sclerosis is a disease that affects the central nervous system, hindering communication between the brain and other parts of the body. Symptoms are unpredictable, ranging from weakness and fatigue to loss of sight.

The Sheriff’s Office is facing other claims that accuse its staff of failing to recognize inmates’ medical conditions.

Former inmate Thomas Ryan Dole has threatened to sue the county for more than $75,000, alleging that a deputy shoved his already broken jaw against a cell wall when he complained he was served food solid food after being placed on an all-liquid diet.

Another inmate, Madilynn Taylor Hemphill, gave birth into an isolation cell toilet in 2017, attorneys for the child’s guardians said in a claim letter to the county last summer.

County Government Reporter

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