Criminal Justice

US should investigate potential civil rights violations of jailed Capitol riot defendants, judge says

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A federal judge found Washington, D.C., jail officials in civil contempt Wednesday for failing to promptly forward medical records of a U.S. Capitol riot defendant with a broken hand to federal officials who would approve surgery.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of the District of Columbia also directed that his Oct. 13 contempt order be transmitted to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland “for appropriate inquiry into potential civil rights violations of Jan. 6 defendants, as exemplified by this case.”

The Washington Post, BuzzFeed News, CNN, and the New York Times have coverage.

Lamberth ruled in the case of Christopher Worrell of Naples, Florida, who is allegedly affiliated with the Proud Boys. The judge’s order followed courtroom comments in which he said the delay was “more than just inept and bureaucratic jostling of papers,” according to the news coverage.

Lamberth had directed the jail officials Oct. 8 to immediately send the records about Worrell’s May 16 hand injury to the U.S. Marshals Service. Surgery was recommended in June. Lamberth scheduled the contempt hearing after he learned that D.C. jail officials said they would not forward the records until another medical evaluation scheduled for this week.

“What happens when something like this occurs, when a surgical recommendation happens in June, and no one cares, nothing is followed up? It goes into never-never land?” Lamberth asked during the hearing.

According to BuzzFeed News, 45 Capitol riot defendants were being held at the D.C. jail as of Wednesday. Numbers provided by other publications vary. Lamberth had ordered Worrell be kept in pretrial detention.

The Washington Post reports that the case “spotlights spiraling frustration among U.S. judges over conditions at the long-troubled D.C. jail, specifically the effect of pandemic restrictions and crippling staff shortages at the facility, which houses 1,500 federal and local detainees.”

See also: “Does executive privilege still protect Trump after his term ends? Fight brews over congressional subpoenas” “ABA president condemns mob assault on Capitol as Rep. Gohmert asks SCOTUS to stop Pence” “Could Trump face charges for speech before Capitol riot? Experts differ on Brandenburg impact”

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