WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday held prime officers on the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections in civil contempt, after ruling they violated the civil rights of a U.S. Capitol riot defendant by impeding his entry to medical care.
“It is more than just inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth stated.
“I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abridged. I don’t know if it’s because he is a Jan. 6 defendant or not, but I find that this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States … for a civil rights investigation.”
Lamberth’s verbal order got here throughout a court docket listening to on Wednesday, after the judge beforehand threatened to carry District of Columbia Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth and Warden Wanda Patten in contempt for failing to show over notes from a physician for defendant Christopher Worrell.
Wednesday marks the primary time a judge has issued such an order — which carries no penalty of its personal — in opposition to the jail over the therapy of Jan. 6 defendants, after protection attorneys in different circumstances have beforehand complained about poor circumstances or therapy on the D.C. jail.
Worrell, a self-proclaimed member of the far-right Proud Boys group from Florida, is dealing with quite a few felony expenses for his position within the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, together with assaulting police and civil dysfunction.
At least 650 folks have been arrested throughout the United States over the unrest, when supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump stormed the capital constructing to attempt to cease Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Worrell has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and broke his hand whereas in custody in May, his legal professional stated. In June, an orthopedic surgeon at a close-by hospital beneficial he have surgical procedure to restore it.
Since then, nonetheless, Worrell has been unable to get the surgical procedure as a result of the Department of Corrections has not supplied the physician’s notes to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Marshals Service oversees the detention and transportation of all federal inmates, together with in circumstances the place they’re being housed in native jail amenities such because the D.C. jail.
But with out entry to the surgeon’s notes, the Marshals Service was unable to approve Worrell’s surgical procedure, Lamberth stated in court docket on Wednesday, including this was why he ordered the notes to be turned over promptly.
A spokesperson for the D.C. Department of Corrections didn’t reply to a request for remark. A Justice Department spokesperson stated the referral had been obtained however declined to remark additional.
Worrell has been in custody since his March arrest. As of Oct. 4, he’s one of 37 Jan. 6 defendants detained within the D.C. jail.
Before Worrell broke his hand, his then-attorney argued in court docket that he had not had satisfactory entry to medical therapy for his most cancers. His new legal professional, Alex Stavrou, instructed Reuters his consumer was discovered unconscious with the damaged hand on May 16, after what gave the impression to be a fall presumably tied to his different medical circumstances.
“We support the judge’s position that the Office of the Attorney General investigate into potential civil rights violations,” he instructed Reuters in a press release, including that Worrell and different Jan. 6 defendants hope Attorney General Merrick Garland will “conduct this inquiry immediately and without prejudice.
Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Peter Graff