Gay prison inmate sues jail over being called ‘Miss’ by staff and beaten by fellow inmate
A former prison inmate is suing a sheriff and prison staff, saying he was viciously beaten because he is gay.
Arthur Blake filed the complaint this week, saying he continually let staff know that threats had been made against him but that he was left unprotected.
Blake says the attack took place at the Mecklenburg jail in North Carolina on 1 August 2014, perpetrated by fellow inmate Timothy Belcher.
His attorney says that Belcher said to him while waiting in a food line that he was going to “fuck him up” if he looked at him.
Blake says that he pleaded with jail staff just hours before the attack took place, and that as a result of the beating, was placed in solitary confinement for four days.
According to the filing, Blake was referred to as “Miss Blake” by jailers throughout his incarceration there.
The former inmate said he also felt pressured into pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter because he felt unsafe.
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He says he did so in order to speed up his transfer away from the jail.
The filing states that “Had Mr Blake been properly protected” he would not have pleaded guilty.
He has now been released.
“The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office failed to take very basic steps to adequately protect one its inmates … and the result was that Mr. Blake suffered a brutal assault,” said Blake’s attorney, Jake Sussman.
“Prior to this assault, Mr. Blake had been harassed and demeaned by certain employees of the Sheriff’s Office because Mr. Blake is gay. This is unacceptable, especially from public employees whose job is to serve and protect.”
The lawsuit accuses Mecklenburg County Sheriff Irwin Carmichael and his staff of negligence and breach of official duties.