A man who was an inmate in the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail in 2022 alleges in a new lawsuit that he lost parts of two fingers when a deputy shut a cell door on his hand.
Ishmael Ester‘s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges negligence, civil rights violations and intentional infliction of emotional distress. He names as defendants the county and two deputies. He seeks unspecified compensatory damages against the county and both compensatory and punitive damages against the deputies. An LASD representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Nov. 16.
Ester was arrested on Oct. 7, 2022, and was talking to a deputy six days later when without warning the deputy closed Ester’s door, according to the lawsuit, which further states that Ester’s fingers were caught because he was unable to move away from the door in time.
“In shock and experiencing excruciating pain, (Esther) began to scream for help,” the suit states.
When Ester’s fingers were released from the cell door, his fingers were partially amputated and fell to the floor, the suit states.
“Plaintiff then looked down at his fingers and noticed he was missing at least half of his ring finger and a piece of his pinky finger,” according to the suit, which also stated that Ester saw blood “squirting profoundly from his hands.”
A shocked Ester screamed for medical attention and he wrapped his fingers in his shirt while waiting, but the bleeding continued, the suit states. Another deputy arrived five minutes later and did not immediately open the cell gate, saying she wanted to see his finger first, the suit states.
“After minutes of “continuous begging and pleading for medical attention and for his cell gate to be opened,” the deputy finally did so and a sergeant told the deputies to take Ester to the medical clinic and later to urgent care, the suit states. At the plaintiff’s request, one of the deputies went back to Ester’s cell and recovered part of one of the severed fingers, the suit states.
Each jail module has a loudspeaker system that is supposed to warn inmates when their cell gates are going to be opened and closed, but the speaker on Ester’s row had not worked for months, the suit alleges.
Ester had multiple surgeries on his fingers and also has experienced humiliation, depression, anxiety, mortification, terror and shock, the suit states.