The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Roosevelt County jail inmates file lawsuits


Staff report

Inmates at Roosevelt County jail have filed separate federal lawsuits claiming they were pepper-sprayed in retaliation for an escape and shot with a Taser as punishment.

Both lawsuits were filed by attorney Eric Dixon in late April at U.S. District Court in Albuquerque.

Dixon represents 10 inmates who charge a detention officer fired at least five rounds of pepper balls at them last September, hours after the second escape from the Roosevelt County Detention Center in three months.

The inmates claim the officer walked into a day room, shouted “this is per (jail Administrator David) Casanova” and fired, hitting and injuring several men with the projectiles. One inmate began coughing up blood, the suit alleges.

The inmates claim they were not allowed to wash off the pepper spray, shower or change blankets contaminated by residue for weeks.

The suit also alleges the detention officer accused was terminated by the county for repeated misconduct.

Dixon also represents Andrea Fenstermaker in a suit alleging she was injured when a detention officer shot her in the hand with a Taser causing injuries that required treatment at Roosevelt General Hospital. Fenstermaker claims she was shot for “no purpose other than to punish Plaintiff.”

County Manager Charlene Webb declined comment on either lawsuit.


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