In recent weeks, there seem to be large number of lawsuits stemming from improper conduct occurring by prison officials. This alleged incident took place the Detention Center in Brooklyn. 53-year-old Rafael Lopez claims that, Douglas Mendoza, just 24 years old attacked him in September of last year. Mr. Lopez was serving a sentence for drug distribution conspiracy while Mendoza is charged with murder from 2010. Mendoza apparently was able to accumulate padlocks and put them into a sock to create a weapon. He then apparently began to pummel the plaintiff, Lopez, following a dispute about the television channel.
According to the lawsuit, the attacker changed the channel away from a baseball game in an effort to flex his power and up his status in the prison. An argument broke out, however it was resolved peacefully for the time being as the game was turned back on. Lopez claims that it was at this time that Mendoza went back to his cell where he came back with his sock filled weapon where he repeatedly beat Mr. Lopez. Lopez suffered serious injuries as a result of the assault including a lacerated kidney and numerous broken ribs. The lawsuit claims that two officers who were in the recreational room when this occurred did not step in to impede the assault right away. Eventually officers dressed in riot gear got involved and stopped Mr. Mendoza from inflicting greater damage. Because of strict rules and security in prison, inmates will often improvise the few items they are allowed to possess into makeshift weapons. Unfortunately, serious injury will often result from the use of these makeshift weapons.
The lawsuit claims that Mendoza was known to prison officials and officers as a violent man who also suffers from mental health problems. Mendoza is also a reputed gang member in the dangerous gang MS-13. The gang had made headlines across Long Island and the greater New York area for their brutality and presence in the region. President Trump and Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, have stated that increased resources will be necessary to combat the gang. Lopez further alleges that officials at the jail were unable to adequately protect him so he was forced to move to special housing before transferring to a federal jail in Manhattan three months later.
According to the lawsuit, the prison officers should have been on notice about Mendoza’s mental health and dangerous reputation. Inmates had previously complained that Mendoza was armed but there was no action.
If you were injured while incarcerated, you still have rights. Call the law offices of Druckman & Hernandez where the lawyers always fight for your rights. You may be entitled to a cash award for damages. Our office is located at 575 Morris Avenue in Elizabeth, NJ. Our telephone number is 908-353-5850. Call now to protect your rights and see how much your case could be worth!