After eye-gouging incident, inmate sues sheriff

Posted at 12:40 AM, Dec 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-10 00:40:21-05

BOULDER, CO (KMGH/CNN) - A sheriff is facing a lawsuit from a former inmate who said he blinded himself during a psychotic episode in his cell. Ryan Partridge filed the lawsuit in federal court Friday, saying the injuries he suffered in the Boulder County Jail should not have happened.

Shelley Partridge says her son, who suffers from schizophrenia, had a psychotic episode late last year while serving time in the jail.

“I was told that he would be kept safe,” she said.

At one point, Ryan Partridge jumped from second-tier cells in the jail down to the floor below.

“I fell over and somersaulted onto my back,” he said.

He refused medication because he didn’t trust the staff. He thought they might be trying to poison him. He said he couldn’t bathe, shave or clip his fingernails.

Four weeks later, he said, “I walked around in my cell and I started getting overly hyper and ultimately I undressed and sat down and put my fingers in my eyes.”

He gouged his eyes and is now blind.

Richard Partridge remembers his son being re-sentenced for misdemeanor harassment after he had just served 181 days.

“As soon as he left the courtroom, we could hear the yelling and the scream after the doors were closed,” he said. “And it was the last time Ryan had eyesight to see me.”

Richard Partridge said he understands that a jailer’s job is tough, that they see the worst in humanity. But he also believes that the jail’s staff isn’t being properly trained on how to deal with inmates who have mental issues, and that some of them are bullies.

“If you can’t take the heat, then maybe you should find a different occupation,” the father said.

The sheriff’s office said that deputies and mental health professionals went above and beyond to assist Partridge in jail. The lawsuit is asking for compensation and punitive damages.

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