Published 01/07/2020 | Reading Time 0 min 43 sec
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A black West Virginia inmate says in a federal lawsuit that he was attacked by a member of the white supremacist Aryan Brotherhood while state prison guards either did nothing or helped facilitate the assault.
Lermon Russell, 44, filed suit last week over the attack at the Mount Olive Correctional Center, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reported.
Russell says in the suit that Jacob Samples attacked him more than a year ago, stabbing and punching him while he was shackled. Court filings including a statement from Samples that says guards knew about and encouraged the plan to attack Russell. The Aryan Brotherhood is a violent white supremacist prison gang.
Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Lawrence Messina said division officials only would comment on the case through court filings.
Defendants in the lawsuit include the state Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation as well as multiple officials within the agency, correctional officers and nurses.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for pain and suffering and seeks to have the agency adopt policies to prevent similar incidents.
It was filed the same week that Gov. Jim Justice announced that more than 30 corrections department trainees were fired after a photograph surfaced of cadets giving a Nazi salute.
State officials have said they plan to begin training department staff about the Holocaust.