News Police Misconduct

Victim Of Unlawful Prison Beating Sues 6 Guards

An inmate in a Wisconsin prison is suing two former correctional officers who were convicted of unlawfully beating him in his cell, along with four other guards he says enabled or didn’t stop the attack.

According to the lawsuit, 20-year-old Kuan Barnett was beaten, had his eyes gouged and his fingers bent back by correctional officers Russell Goldsmith and Michael Thompson

According to the suit, the former officers attacked Barnett because he had spit water at them and another office through his cell.

After the beating, Goldsmith dragged the inmate to another area of the cell block while keeping him in a chokehold, according to the suit.

Goldsmith and Thompson submitted reports saying they saw Barnett trying to hang himself with a sheet, and that when they went into his cell it became clear he had been only trying to lure them in and that he took a fighting stance and the guards responded in self-defense.

They later admitted that was lie. Goldsmith resigned and Thompson was fired after the completion of an internal investigation, and both were later charged with crimes

Goldsmith, 64, of Westfield, pleaded no contest to abuse of a penal facility resident and misconduct in public office, both felonies, and was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

Thompson, 47, of Reedsburg, was charged with felony misconduct in public office but pleaded no contest to reduced misdemeanor counts of disorderly conduct and resisting or obstructing an officer and was sentenced to a year of probation.

Barnett’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Madison, seeks compensatory and punitive damages for conspiracy, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

It names as defendants Goldsmith, Thompson, Woodruff and three other guards: Christopher Olson, a lieutenant, and two sergeants, Austin Schlachter and Brian Reynolds, all in their individual capacities.

Barnett is represented by Ben Elson and People’s Law Office of Chicago, and Robin Shellow of Milwaukee.

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