Henrico County and Sheriff Reach Settlement Over Inmate's Unlawful Detention and Inhumane Treatment
Written by: Sam Orlando
HENRICO COUNTY, VA – A lawsuit filed against Henrico County and its Sheriff has reached a confidential settlement, according to recent court records. The lawsuit had brought forth a series of serious allegations, detailing the inhumane treatment of an inmate during her detention.
The plaintiff, whose name remains undisclosed, was arrested in the early hours of August 17, 2019. She alleged that, while in custody, she experienced a series of harrowing events which violated her rights. Key allegations in the complaint included:
Unlawful Detention on Immigration Grounds: The plaintiff was held on the basis of an immigration detainer request issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). She claimed that she was not informed about the detainer, nor was she provided an opportunity to challenge her continued detention based on it.
Inhumane Conditions: Throughout her detention, the plaintiff alleged she faced unbearable heat, overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and a lack of basic amenities like beds and toilet paper. At one point, she slept under a table, due to lack of available sleeping accommodations.
Sexual Harassment: The inmate alleged that she was sexually harassed by another inmate, and feared reporting the incident would lead to further consequences against her.
Medical Neglect: The plaintiff asked for headache medicine and was denied. The deputy in question allegedly told her, “We can do it tomorrow.”
Mandatory Pregnancy Test: The complaint also mentioned an unlawful mandatory pregnancy test when processing female inmates into the jail.
Despite the confidential nature of the settlement, court records did reveal that ICE was ordered to pay the plaintiff $3,724 for attorney's fees for one motion. The amount paid by Henrico County, if any, remains undisclosed.
Reports from before the lawsuit highlighted that overcrowding in Henrico County Jails was a known and well-documented issue, with temperatures sometimes reaching as high as 85 degrees. The lawsuit also cited a pattern of constitutional deprivations, with certain inmates detained longer than necessary due to immigration detainer requests.
As of now, officials from Henrico County and its sheriff's office have not released a public statement about the settlement.
Rivas-Lemus was represented by the law firm of Tingen Law, PLLC, located in Richmond, Virginia.