Race & Identity
Men Stabbed By Fellow Offender While Shackled To Table At Ohio Prison As Guards Did Nothing File Lawsuit
One of the victims believes the attack was a setup, something prison officials deny.
Update (April 4, 2019): Two of the four men who were attacked by a knife-wielding man while handcuffed in an Ohio prison are suing several officials for not preventing the assault.
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Shamieke D. Pugh and Maurice D. Lee filed a lawsuit against the warden, two correctional officers and several other staff members at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility on Wednesday, reports The Columbus Dispatch.
The men claim guards stood by and laughed while convicted murderer Gregory Reinke attacked Pugh, Lee and two other men while they were handcuffed to a table. Reinke was finally subdued when one of the men was able to get out of his restraints.
Pugh was stabbed a dozen times while Lee was punctured twice.
“I hope no other inmates ever have to fight for their lives the way I had to,” Pugh said during a press conference. “I did a crime, and I did my time. But the guards got away scot-free after almost killing me. That ain’t right.”
The lawsuit claims the guards knew Reinke was dangerous and had been found with shanks before the attack but did not strip search him, as policy required. The papers allege the guards didn’t intervene for 10 minutes after the attack.
Pugh believes it was a set-up. However, Reinke denied there was a plot but allegedly told officials the guards condoned his actions, according to Dayton Daily News. Reinke was already serving a life sentence, but a judge added 86 additional years for the stabbings.
The court documents did not specify how much the men are requesting in damages. Solomon Radner, one of their attorneys, said the amount is “a very, very huge number — the kind of number that will shock and awe government officials and particularly prisons all across the country into doing the right thing. The kind of number that will make them say, ‘Let’s make sure this never happens again,’ because it’s not supposed to happen in the first place.”
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Original: A horrifying video of four handcuffed incarcerated Black men being attacked by a knife-wielding white man has become public.
Shamieke Pugh, one of the victims, was stabbed multiple times in his arm, chest and back.
"He was trying to kill us, for sure," Pugh said.
The four men were playing spades when Reinke managed to slip out of his cuffs and began attacking them with a 7-inch-long blade. The video footage shows the four helpless men running around the table to avoid Reinke.
The attack went on until one of the men was able to get out of his shackles and overpower Reinke. A guard intervenes moments later; three minutes after the guard arrived, the remaining men were released from their handcuffs.
Prison spokeswoman JoEllen Smith said the wounded men weren't let out of their restraints immediately because their handcuffs "became entangled when inmates were moving around during the attack.”
The prison stopped shackling incarcerated people to tables following the incident.
Pugh, who is now free after serving four years, believes the guards orchestrated the attack.
“I went out to recreation handcuffed ... ankle shackles and handcuffs to a table,” he said. “You’re supposed to feel safe going out there to them tables.”
Prison officials deny the attack was a setup and said they don’t believe it was racially motivated. They couldn’t determine how Reinke got out of his restraints, however. Another shank was found on him when he was searched.
A report of the incident said Reinke told prison officials he “just felt like killing someone.”
Charges were not filed at the time because Reinke was already serving a life sentence for murder. It wasn't the inmate's last attack. Eight months later, Reinke and another inmate stabbed corrections officer Matthew Matthias 32 times, according to The Daily Mail. Matthias has been unable to return to work due to his injuries.
Newly installed Scioto County prosecutor Shane Tieman charged Reinke for both assaults to send a message despite his life sentence.
“These victims deserve their day in court too," Tieman said. “To say, ‘This was done to me,’ and for us to stand up and say ‘It's not right, what has been done to these victims."'
Ohio Civil Service Employees Association President Christopher Mabe laments the attacks but believes they are inevitable.
"There's no such thing as an inmate being locked in a cell, no matter what the security status is, for 24 hours, seven days a week," he said. "That's not what we do."
Reine has been transferred to a super-maximum-security facility. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
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