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Tecumseh prison

Officers in riot gear enter a gymnasium on the north side of the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution on the morning after a Mother's Day 2015 riot. 

The inmate shot and wounded at the start of the Mother's Day riot at the Tecumseh prison in 2015 has sued the corrections officer who shot him, the employee who authorized her to pull the trigger, the warden and prison director.

Rashad Washington's attorney, Vince Powers, called it unnecessary and excessive use of force in the complaint filed Tuesday in Lancaster County District Court. 

On May 10, 2015, an officer using a rifle or mini-rifle shot Washington in his lower left leg, leaving him with injuries to his thigh, ankle and foot and resulting in hospitalization and the need for surgery, the attorney said.

Powers said another prison employee had authorized the use of deadly force that day after two other inmates attacked a corporal in the prison yard at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution.

The brief melee and the shot that came in response from prison staff sparked a tinderbox.

By the next morning, a wall would be burned down, offices trashed, an entire housing unit taken out of commission, and two inmates -- Shon Collins and Donald Peacock -- dead at the hands of fellow inmates.

In late June 2015, a team of reviewers found that staff at Tecumseh reacted appropriately and that public safety was never endangered. 

The lawsuit filed this week cited a review of the riot by Nebraska Ombudsman Marshall Lux, which concluded that two warning shots by an officer in the tower did not satisfy the need for a reasonable warning that the threat of deadly force was imminent. 

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Powers said the officer who fired the shot and the employee who authorized it committed "wrongful acts, which resulted in injuries to the plaintiff" and caused Washington to suffer pain, suffering, disability and mental anguish.

The suit also names Scott Frakes, director of the Department of Correctional Services, and Brian Gage, who was the warden at the time.

Powers said Frakes and Gage both had a policy, practice, custom or omissions of allowing the Tecumseh prison to be "overcrowded so as to create unrest among the prison population," showed a deliberate indifference to the overcrowding and the problems it caused, had a practice of not staffing appropriately and not properly training correctional officers on the use of deadly force.

He said it caused Washington to be deprived his right to be free from the use of excessive force.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSpilger.

 

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