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Woman Paralyzed After Alleged Attack By Prison Guards Still At 'Risk,' Lawyer Claims
The lawyer for quadriplegic inmate Cheryl Weimar fears the same Lowell Correctional Institution guards who allegedly beat her will "finish what they started."
The lawyer for an inmate who was allegedly paralyzed by four Florida prison guards says she is not safe in her hospital bed and that her fellow inmates, who may have witnessed what happened to her, are being intimidated to keep quiet.
Cheryl Weimar’s lawyer, Ryan Andrews, filed an emergency motion in the prisoner’s lawsuit this week in Tallahassee's federal court suggesting his 51-year-old client, who is recovering from surgery after her cervical spine snapped during the alleged Aug. 21 beating that rendered her a quadriplegic, is in danger so long as prison staff and administrators are able to have "unfettered" access to her.
Weimar was allegedly beaten last month by four corrections officers, whose names have not been disclosed, at Lowell Correctional Institution located in Ocala, Florida.
Andrews' motion argues that while Weimar is bedridden in a hospital, she remains in constant peril of future reprisals by other Lowell guards who purportedly abide by an "unofficial oath, 'We Never Walk Alone.'"
"In particular, the Warden and Assistant Warden of Lowell CI are among those who have been granted unfettered access to Mrs. Weimar," the document reads. "This poses a serious safety risk to Mrs. Weimar, and a substantial risk of interference, threats, witness tampering, and coercion during the pendency of this case."
The attorney is seeking to restrict any Lowell administrators and supervisors of the John Doe defendants from having visitation rights to Weimar. He said he fears something grave could happen to Weimar if there aren't any restrictions put in place and that the same defendants who allegedly beat her “may gain indirect access to [her] in an effort to finish what they started.”
“In this light, the threat on Mrs. Weimar’s life and her physical and emotional health is real and continuing so long as Lowell CI employees retain access to Mrs. Weimar,” according to the documents.
The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) refused to comment on the latest accusations in the emergency motion.
But the agency previously provided Oxygen.com with a written statement from its secretary Mark Inch.
“We recognize that preliminary reports from this incident are concerning,” he wrote. “We’re committed to examining all the details regarding this situation and ensuring appropriate action is taken.”
The agency also verified that an internal probe was opened by the state’s Department of Law Enforcement to determine what happened to Weimar.
Beyond Weimar's safety concerns, Andrews claims he has learned that some guards at Lowell, one of the largest incarcerating institutions housing female inmates in the country, have been “bragging” and “joking about the fact that Mrs. Weimar is now quadriplegic.”
Further, he alleges that some Lowell guards are "threatening inmates who witnessed this brutal beating,” citing unspecified evidence. “They have made claims that these inmate witnesses could be next and suffer the same fate as Mrs. Weimar.
"Clearly this conduct by FDC [Florida Department of Corrections] and its employees is threatening and designed to intimidate witnesses from sharing relevant information.”
The lawsuit alleges Weimar was outnumbered by the four John Doe guards after she complained she was in too much pain to clean toilets due to a “pre-existing hip condition.”
Andrews said that Weimar, who is serving time for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon from a dispute back in 2014, has a history of mental issues.
In that moment, Andrews contends, Weimar's physical and mental state were under duress.
Weimar suffered “medical and psychological emergencies” Andrews told Oxygen.com in a previous interview, adding that she should have been tended to by medical professionals.
“She was scared and they got physical,” he said.
But instead of getting Weimar medical help, the civil complaint contends the four guards shirked protocol and decided to drag her out of the eye of surveillance cameras to use “excessive force to brutally beat [her] within an inch of death.”