Inmate intends to sue county for jail assault

A state prison escapee who was captured at a Scottsbluff residence in August after he set a car on fire has notified Scotts Bluff County he intends to file suit for an assault against him while he was at the County Detention Center. 32 year old James Bannister filed a tort claim with the county, which the commissioners officially received Monday night.

Bannister's attorney Mike Meister of Scottsbluff told KNEB News a federal prisoner Danny Martinez kicked his client in the face during a dispute in the maximum security pod August 18th. Meister says Bannister was hospitalized for a couple days after suffering a fractured cheekbone and broken nose, along with injuries to his eye socket that later required surgery. Meister says he is suing for lack of supervision, claiming two guards were in the pod at the time but the assault still occurred.

Bannister was eventually sentenced in Scotts Bluff County to ten years in prison for theft by receiving stolen property and is currently at the state prison in Lincoln. Martinez was originally charged with assault by a confined person but the case was later dismissed.

The county has six months to respond to the tort claim. If the commissioners don't respond, Bannister has the opportunity to file suit.


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