A man who was picked up on a bench warrant for rolling a stop ended up enduring a 10-day road trip with a private prisoner transport service that, according to a federal lawsuit, left him with debilitating post-traumatic stress.
Darren Richardson, of Florida, described 10 hellish days in a bus being transported to a Pike County, Pennsylvania prison by Prisoner Transport Services of America in a lawsuit reported by ThinkProgress. According to the suit filed in May, guards pointed a shotgun at his head, urinated on him, verbally abused him and tried to extort him.
"Upon entering the bus, Plaintiff was asked by the Sergeant for his jewelry in return for a pleasant ride," the lawsuit states. Guards allegedly withheld food from him because he wouldn't give them his jewelry.
According to Richardson's lawsuit, the ride happened between June 5 and June 15 of 2013. In the course of transit, he didn't go to the restroom for six days and didn't eat for four.
He reports watching guards taking debit cards from inmates to buy cigarettes and other items at gas stations. "The guards hassled an older man for his social security money in order to purchase cigarettes," according to court documents.
When being transferred to another bus, he was told by a guard that he was about to endure "a ride from Hell!" The guard then urinated on Richardson, according to the suit.
Richardson's legs were shackled and he was kept in a 3'-by-5' cage, rendering him unable to move around or stand. As a result, blood circulation had been cut off to the point that upon arrival to Pike County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, his legs were purple from the knee down and his feet were black.
He was so traumatized that he requested to be kept in solitary confinement in the Pike County prison to minimize his interaction with others, the lawsuit states.
As result of his experience, Richardson now suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, loss of a normal life and permanent disability, according to the complaint.
It's not the first time PTS and other private prisoner transport businesses have been accused of life-changing abuse. Last year, the Miami Herald reports Denise Isaacs, a frail 54 year old, was found unconscious when the van she was riding in stopped at Taco Bell. Guards only called 911 after their own efforts to revive her failed.