A lawsuit filed against the Florida Department of Corrections and four corrections officers claims the officers attacked inmate Cheryl Weimar last month at Lowell Correctional Institution, causing life-threatening and permanent injuries, including a broken neck.
“As a result of this unlawful beating and inmate abuse, Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar will require around-the-clock medical care for the rest of her life,” according to the lawsuit filed earlier this week in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida.
The August 21 beating incident occurred while Weimar, 51, was on work duty at the prison in Marion County.
She was asked to clean the toilets in one of the confinement areas at the prison. However, because she was feeling pain from a pre-existing hip condition, she was unable to perform the task.
After informing the officers about her pain (which the corrections officers were aware of, the lawsuit claims), they became “angry” and “a confrontation ensued.”
Weimar then suffered “an adverse psychological episode” as the officers confronted her. The lawsuit says prison officials should have called medical personnel to intervene, but that didn’t happen.
Instead, the corrections officers slammed Weimar to the ground, where they “brutally beat her with blows to her head, neck, and back,” the lawsuit states. And at least one officer elbowed her in the back of the neck, breaking it.
They dragged Weimar “like a rag doll” to a nearby wheelchair, “allowing her head to bounce along the ground along the way.”
The officers then brought her outside the prison compound to continue attacking her outside of surveillance cameras.
The lawsuit says that Weimar is now a quadriplegic and has lost the ability to use her arms and legs. She was hospitalized after the attack, and currently must breathe through a tracheostomy. She is currently receiving food through what’s called a PEG tube in her stomach.
Attorneys for Weimar are pursuing damages, including for permanent physical injury, disfigurement, and emotional pain and suffering.
After the first media reports about Weimar surfaced, Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch said, “We recognize that preliminary reports from this incident are concerning. We’re committed to examining all the details regarding this situation and ensuring appropriate action is taken.”
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is the lead investigative agency on the case, with the assistance from the Florida Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General.
The four officers in question have been reassigned to posts that do not have contact with inmates, according to the corrections department.
The corrections department said last month that while the investigation is active and ongoing, “releasable information related to this incident is very limited.”
Weimar was incarcerated in January 2016 based on an aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charge.
The lawsuit was filed by Tallahassee-based attorney Ryan Andrews shows that Cheryl Weimer and her husband, Karl, are listed as the plaintiffs.
Cheryl Weimar is currently being cared for at a hospital in Ocala.