COLUMBUS — The state has agreed to pay $17.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by an Ohio inmate paralyzed during a takedown by prison guards.
Seth Fletcher was serving a two-year sentence at Chillicothe Correctional Institution in southern Ohio in April 2020 when his attorney says he was tackled, handcuffed and dropped by guards. The 21-year-old Fletcher was left paralyzed from the chest down with a spinal cord injury.
Fletcher was seized during a strip search on April 3, 2020, when guards caught the inmate with a cigarette they suspected was laced with drugs, according to reports by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and the Ohio Highway State Patrol.
Guards dropped Fletcher while dragging him to a suicide watch cell and poured water on his face and into his nose when he asked for water, records show. One guard bragged afterward that he had waterboarded Fletcher.
Fletcher filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the prisons agency, and the settlement was announced last week in a federal court filing.
Prisons spokesperson JoEllen Smith said the parties agreed to settle and the terms were being worked out.