Two federal lawsuits accuse a former prison manager of helping inmates carry out attacks on other prisoners at Lanesboro Correctional Institution.
One inmate, Orlando Harshaw, alleges that former unit manager Jeffery Wall threatened him on March 12, 2012, after he filed a grievance complaining that Lanesboro officers had taken his radio and given it to a violent inmate gang member.
Wall told Harshaw, that he was “exposing himself to physical harm and retaliation” by filing the grievance, according to the inmate’s lawsuit. Later that day, Harshaw said, a gang member sneaked up behind him, stabbed him in the ear and kicked him unconscious.
In another pending lawsuit, former prisoner Benjamin White contends that Wall knew of a planned attack on him and another inmate but did nothing to stop it.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
On April 2, 2012, the inmate alleges, prison officials allowed five gang members to pass through multiple security doors – and into a cell block where they didn’t belong. The lawsuit contends Wall watched the attack and failed to protect White.
The lawsuits filed by White and another inmate also allege that a staff member repeatedly told former Lanesboro superintendent Lawrence Parsons that Wall was allowing gang attacks. But Parsons never took action, the inmates say. Parsons, now retired, refused to comment.
Wall did not respond to repeated requests to discuss the allegations against him. Joseph Ledford, his attorney, wouldn’t discuss his case and said he has advised Wall not to talk.
In a court filing, Wall denies that he threatened Harshaw, facilitated attacks on inmates or gave gang members preferential treatment. He also says he protected White during the April 2012 fight at the prison.
Wall was never criminally charged.
State prison officials refused to provide the video of the April 2012 attack to the Observer. But they say “appropriate reviews were conducted, including video reviews,” and that no employees were dismissed, suspended or demoted as a result.