Recorder News Staff
ALBANY -- A Fulton County man has filed a civil lawsuit against Montgomery County and county jail officials alleging corrections officers assaulted him during transport to a court appearance.
Attorney Elmer Robert Keach III filed the lawsuit Oct. 14 in U.S. District Court Northern District of New York on behalf of Jose Samuels, a citizen of Cuba currently residing in Fulton County as a refugee. The lawsuit was filed against Montgomery County, Sheriff Michael Amato, Jail Administrator Michael Franko, corrections officers Terry Carter and "John Doe Number One."
According to the lawsuit, Montgomery County corrections officers Carter and "Charrow," whose first name was not provided, assaulted Samuels around Feb. 10, 2015, while transporting him to the Amsterdam City Court for legal proceedings. Samuels was admitted to the Fulton County Jail in October 2015.
Samuels was picked up from the Fulton County Jail by Montgomery County officers and transported to the Montgomery County Jail for processing. During the procedure, Samuels allegedly informed the booking officer of physical limitations from injuries he sustained during a motorcycle crash in 2014. He sustained fractures to his pelvis and a "severe" concussion.
"This accident impaired Mr. Samuels' mobility," the lawsuit states.
Samuels asked in the booking area to be seated in the front of the transport van to the city court since he had trouble getting in and out of the van from the back seat, according to the lawsuit. However, when he asked Carter and Charrow, Charrow allegedly became angry and yelled at Samuels to "shut up," along with other profanities.
According to the lawsuit, Samuels attempted to get into the van but had difficulties due to his injuries. Samuels' slowness allegedly caused Carter and Charrow to assault him.
"Specifically, Officer Charrow pushed Mr. Samuels into the van, causing Mr. Samuels to land on his stomach inside of the van. Officer Charrow then began punching Mr. Samuels while he was in the van," the lawsuit states.
Carter allegedly dragged Samuels out of the van by his ankle handcuffs, causing him to hit his head on the stairs of the van. Charrow allegedly sat on Samuels' torso and punched him in the face while yelling at him.
The lawsuit states Samuels arrived in the booking area covered in blood and injured. The two corrections officers allegedly continues to yell profanities and racial slurs at him.
Samuels sustained injuries to his face, eyes, pelvis and extremities, and suffers from emotional trauma, according to the lawsuit. It also states he was diagnosed with a hernia he believes was partially caused by the assault.
Samuels' wife, Melissa, allegedly reported the incident Montgomery County Jail Administrator Michael Franko, but it is believed no meaningful investigation was opened.
Samuels is not seeking punitive damages, but requested a trial by jury.
"The actions of Defendants Franko, Amato, Carter, and John Doe Number One described above were extreme and outrageous, and shock the conscience of a reasonable person. Therefore, an award of punitive damages is appropriate to punish the Defendants for the cruel and uncivilized conduct," the lawsuit reads.
County spokesman Andrew Santillo said the county has not been served with the lawsuit, despite attempts to hold a 50-h hearing to get more information.
"The county hasn't been served with this lawsuit, at the time of this response, so we are reserving comment. The county did receive a Notice of Claim and attempted multiple times to hold a 50-h hearing to ascertain more information, but the Complainant failed to appear to provide information about his allegations," Santillo said.
Keach did not return request for comment.
This is one of several cases Keach has filed against the Montgomery County Jail.