A King County man has filed a lawsuit against the county and several corrections officers, claiming they fractured his spine when they knelt on his back and forcibly removed his clothing in the King County Jail in 2019.
Todd Ray Jones, 53, filed the lawsuit in King County Superior Court last Wednesday, contending that while he was being held in the jail on April 21, 2019, he “suffered several acute fractures to his lumbar spine” when officers held him on the ground in a holding cell and “wrenched” his torso upward, against the direction of the force applied to his back.
Noah Haglund, a jail spokesperson, declined to comment Monday on the claims, citing pending litigation.
In the lawsuit, Jones alleges jail staff refused to say why he was being booked into the downtown Seattle jail. And when he refused an order to remove his clothes at the booking counter, an officer allegedly “roughly” grabbed his right arm and held it against his back as they pinned his head against the counter, the suit contends.
Jones was charged with first-degree criminal trespassing and vehicle prowling before the charges were later dismissed, according to court records. The lawsuit says Jones was released during his first court appearance for lack of probable cause.
“Mr. Jones has suffered immensely because of the incident described in his lawsuit, and he continues to feel the effects of his injuries,” his attorney, Henry Avery, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are hopeful that the suit will allow Mr. Jones to heal and also help prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.”
According to the claim for damages Jones submitted to King County in January 2020, doctors at Harborview Medical Center confirmed with X-rays that he had suffered several acute fractures to his spine and would need physical therapy.
Following the incident, Jones could not walk, was bedridden for about six months and suffered health issues, including incontinence and pain, according to an amended damages claim Jones’ attorney filed on his behalf last December.
Jones, a “person of very limited means,” was able to attend a small number of physical therapy sessions but has continued to suffer health issues due to the fractures, the damages claim said.