ROCK SPRINGS — An inmate at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Facility in Torrington has reached out to SweetwaterNOW with a letter and court documents stating he was the victim of excessive force by a deputy in the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.
Brian Allen, a former Rock Springs resident, has filed a complaint in United States District Court alleging that Deputy Gerald Carr violated his 14th Amendment rights by using excessive force while detaining him at the Sweetwater County Detention Center (SCDC) 2 1/2 years ago.
Allen said he still suffers pain from the incident and goes to physical therapy twice a week for injuries he allegedly received to his shoulder from Carr. Allen is also suing Sweetwater County as the employer of Carr at the time.
“I take full accountability for my past actions, but I didn’t deserve to be seriously assaulted for absolutely no reason,” Allen says in his letter to SweetwaterNOW. “I asked to file criminal charges against Sgt. Carr only to be ignored by the district attorney’s office, three judges, Captain Love at the detention center, and the county commissioners.”
According to documents filed in federal court, Allen alleges the incident occurred on April 16, 2018. He was incarcerated at the SCDC as a pretrial detainee and had asked another deputy if he could close his cell door because he wasn’t feeling well.
The deputy told Allen that he needed to see a nurse first, and upon entering his cell, the nurse noticed a large amount of blood in his stool. Allen said he then asked the nurse to close his cell door “to get some rest.” It was then that Allen alleges Carr began yelling at him “basically asserting his authority” and saying that “he was the only one who made the decisions.”
The documents state Carr ordered Allen to “roll up,” meaning to gather his personal property for the purpose of moving him to a new location. Allen says he told Carr he wasn’t feeling well and that it was Carr’s job to roll him up.
Carr and the nurse then left the cell and moments later “an announcement was made for the pod to lock down.” Allen claims he started gathering his belonging when Carr and Corporal Hansen appeared at his cell door. He says Carr ordered him out of the cell and slammed him against the wall and kneed him in the ribs and thigh.
Allen said he also heard his shoulder pop due to the pressure and that Carr was calling him derogatory names “which was heard by the other prisoners,” according to complaint. Allen says Carr continued with the force after he was moved to the segregation pod by kneeling on him and continuing to wrench his arm upward.
“Mr. Carr also wrenched Mr. Allen’s arms upward while restraining them behind his back,” the documents state.
The complaint states that Allen has needed two operations on his shoulder and continues to suffer pain since the alleged incident. Statements from an orthopedic surgeon and physical therapist who treated Allen say his injury was consistent with excessive force.
Allen is claiming that his 14th Amendment rights were violated, specifically the right to be free of the unjustified and excessive force by a law enforcement officer. He’s seeking compensatory and punitive damages against Carr and Sweetwater County in the case.
Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle stated:
“While we can’t comment specifically on this case because it is currently in litigation, we want the public to know that we take allegations of misconduct by our deputies very seriously, and that we have an established system in place to field complaints and to ensure matters like these are investigated in a consistent, thorough, fair, impartial and timely manner.”Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle
The complaint was filed in federal court on March 23, 2020. Allen remains incarcerated at WMCF in Torrington at the time of this posting.