WHITFIELD COUNTY, GEORGIA – Twenty-nine northwest Georgia inmates were forced to rub cream on their bodies and stand in their cells naked for 12 hours, according to federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit, filed against the Whitfield County sheriff’s office in U.S. District Court in Rome, seeks $5 million in punitive damages, The Daily Citizen in Dalton reported. The suit contends the inmates were humiliated while behind bars at the Whitfield County jail in October.
A sheriff’s office captain told the newspaper the cream was an anti-lice treatment. Two members of the jail staff were disciplined following the incident, according to the report.
“They came into the dorm and told us to strip, and never told us why,” David Bennett, one of the two inmates that filed the suit, told the newspaper. “They said it’d be for a couple of hours with no covering. I’ve been in prison, but this had never happened. It seemed absurd to me. I was physically sick for a week afterward from the cold, and all because they think some 18-year-old kid who had left the day before had lice.”
Bennett has been arrested and booked 35 times at the Whitfield County jail since 1999, according to documents provided by the sheriff’s office. His most recent arrest in October was for sale of methamphetamine, use of a communication facility in drug transactions, felony probation violation and giving false information to officers, the newspaper reported.