Criminal Justice

Former prosecutor who served time seeks damages for prison pepper spraying

A former prosecutor who served five years in prison contends in a lawsuit being tried this week that prison guards used excessive force against him when he refused to roll a log around a tree.

Former Delaware deputy attorney general Kenneth Abraham was serving a five-year sentence on a drug charge when the incident took place in May 2007, the News Journal reports. Abraham told federal jurors he was wrongly accused of talking in the chow hall in the Georgetown, Delaware, correctional center and punished with orders to roll the log.

Abraham refused. In response, Abraham alleges, correctional officers pepper sprayed him, knocked him to the ground and kicked him. Abraham, 67, was passionate and sometimes rambling during his testimony, the News Journal says. The judge and his own lawyer both reminded Abraham to stay on topic and limit his answers to the question asked.

The lawyer representing the state, Catherine Damavandi, said in opening statements that Abraham was “an inmate rebel without a cause” who was combative with staffers and threatening lawsuits.

Damavandi said Abraham was pepper sprayed because it was safer than a hands-on approach, and he was gently set down for handcuffing.

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