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  • Writer's pictureSam Orlando

River North Correctional Under Fire: Suit Claims Inmate was Stabbed, Sexually Assaulted, and Ignored

Written by: Sam Orlando

The Nightmarish Reality of Negligence

Imagine being locked in a cell with a dangerous individual and urgently requesting relocation, fearing imminent violence. Now, picture your plea falling on deaf ears, leading to horrific consequences, including being stabbed and sexually assaulted. This nightmare is at the heart of a federal lawsuit filed by John Claude Yowell, an inmate at River North Correctional Center in Independence, Virginia.

Overview: The Civil Rights Violation Claim

Filed on September 20, 2023, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, Yowell's lawsuit alleges that Sergeant Frazier, the defendant named in the case, exhibited gross negligence and violated his federal rights under the Civil Rights Act. The case number is 7:23-cv-00604.

Key Allegations: Ignored Warnings and Abandonment

According to the complaint, Yowell requested to be moved, citing a serious risk of sexual assault. His request was allegedly ignored, resulting in him being stabbed by a cellmate. Disturbingly, the lawsuit claims that Sgt. Frazier came to Yowell's cell, noticed he had several lacerations to his face and head, and then walked away, effectively leaving Yowell in immediate danger.

Damages Sought: Monetary, Nominal, Compensatory, and Punitive

Yowell seeks various forms of damages including monetary, nominal, compensatory, and punitive. He does not request a trial by jury. According to court filings, Yowell had filed grievances regarding the facts stated in the complaint, and these were marked as 'Unfounded'.

Corroborating Evidence: Camera Footage

The plaintiff cites vestibule and body camera footage as evidence that Sgt. Frazier was aware of the imminent danger. Another piece of evidence noted is pod camera footage that shows Frazier walking away from Yowell’s cell even after observing that he had been stabbed.

Legal Implications and Inmate Rights

The case raises serious questions about the duties and responsibilities of correctional officers to protect inmates under their care. It also prompts concerns about the effectiveness of the grievance process within correctional facilities, especially when inmates allege that their safety is at risk.

Awaiting Defendant's Response

As of now, the defendant has yet to comment on the allegations. Given the gravity of the claims, this lawsuit will likely be closely watched, with potential implications for prison safety protocols nationwide.

Note: This article is based on allegations contained in a lawsuit and as such, the events described are yet to be proven in court. For more updates on this developing story, stay tuned to Breaking Through News.


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