A former inmate has recently filed a lawsuit against Utah County and several jail officers for use of excessive force after an officer fired a riot-control shotgun pointblank at his leg. The attorney of the former detainee publicly released the video of the officer firing twice at the inmate’s leg and allegedly waiting nearly three weeks before allowing him to receive treatment at a hospital for the rubber pellets that remained in his leg.
“On June 28, 2017, while Mr. Prado was alone and unarmed in his jail cell, Defendant Deputy Hindes stuck the barrel of his shotgun through the small opening intended to deliver meals to the inmate, and intentionally shot Mr. Prado with the shotgun, either on contact with his leg or at close range after making contact with Mr. Prado’s leg,” the lawsuit states. “At the time of the shooting, Prado was absolutely no threat to any of the corrections officers.”
According to the jail surveillance video, Luis Carlos Prado refused to cooperate with Utah County jail officers and punched the window of his cell door while threatening the officers and their children. Shortly after one of the officers opened Prado’s food slot, Deputy Jason Hindes fired rubber bullets from a shotgun at pointblank range.
Using his knee to block the food slot, Prado barely grimaced as the first round hit his leg. Despite the fact that the first round clearly wounded Prado yet did nothing to deter him, Hindes fired a second round at his leg.
According to his lawsuit, Prado had been placed in the mental health unit, and his jailers were aware of his “serious mental health problems.” Nearly three weeks after the incident, Prado had to undergo surgery to have the rubber bullets removed from his leg because the wound had become “grossly infected.”
The lawsuit also claims that the defendants “falsified major aspects” of a written report regarding the incident.
“As soon as he snuggles up to the door, that is completely inappropriate to use force,” former Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank said at a recent news conference. “That is nothing but punitive. You see the reaction. It has no effect on his behavior whatsoever and yet they administer a second round. That tool is designed to move people in a direction, not to simply hurt them enough so they comply.”
Prado is seeking general compensatory damages, special damages, punitive damages, pre-judgment interest on the damages, plaintiff’s costs, reasonable attorney fees, and other relief “as the Court deems just and proper.”
A spokesman for the Utah County Sheriffs’ Office released the following statement Thursday: “We are aware of the incident at our Jail involving Mr. Luis Prado. It was investigated by an outside agency. An internal investigation was done as well. We have taken appropriate corrective action, but we disagree with the statements made by Mr. Prado’s attorney.”