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Ohio Prison Sued For Failing To Stop 2017 Stabbing Attack

Dan Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.

Two inmates stabbed while at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Wednesday against the prison warden and several guards and nurses.

Shamieke Pugh, 29, and Maurice Lee, 27, allege that prison officials, including Warden Ronald Erdos, enabled the stabbing and failed to protect them.

Pugh, who's since been released, says he was targeted and stabbed 12 times by fellow inmate and alleged white supremacist Gregory Reinke. Along with two other African American inmates, Pugh and Lee were attacked while handcuffed to a table during indoor recreational time.

“The most disgraceful part of the attack is that the prison guards who were supposed to protect us did not do so,” Pugh said. “I believe the reason they did not do so was because they were in on the attack.”

According to the lawsuit, prison officials allegedly failed to do a procedural strip-search on the attacker before he entered the recreational room. Reinke had an 8-inch and a 12-inch blade in his socks. The lawsuit also accuses officials of laughing while watching the attack unfold, and only later intervening once one of men slipped out of his handcuffs and tackled Reinke.

“I know there are good and decent prison guards in Lucasville, but the prison guards that watched the attack and Warden Robert Erdos must be held accountable for their actions and their lack of actions,” Pugh said. “This behavior from the prison guards is too common and must not be tolerated in a decent society.”

All four inmates survived the attack.

Reinke pleaded guilty to the stabbing last week and was given an additional 54 years in prison, on top of his existing life sentence. He was also given another 32 years for stabbing a guard.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. The plaintiffs’ attorney Solomon Radner said he hopes a potential financial settlement will push prisons to add things like body cameras to officers and hold them more accountable.