From time to time people come into my living unit with outrageous stories from their County Jails. For the most part they are wild and unsubstantiated claims, but they make for good stories I suppose.
Last year a young man told me about how he was treated by a female corrections deputy at the Klickitat County Jail after coming back from Court. Apparently this 130 lb. 19 year old kid had been talking during Court. This angered Deputy Kim Dukes enough to grab the young man by the ear while screaming at him, “I told you to shut up!” Moments later while in the jail’s booking area, an inmate worker gave the young man, a tortilla with peanut butter on it. Upon seeing this Deputy Dukes flew into a rage. She hit him in the mouth, grabbed his cheek, crammed her fingers in his mouth to sweep out the food, and then to add insult to injury she slowly wiped her soiled fingers off on his shirt while staring him dead in the eye. He was incapacitated by restraints save for one hand.
The young man filed a civil suit. (SEE – Jussila v. Dukes, et all.; Klickitat Superior Court cause NO. 16-2-00036-9). During discovery all the above described conduct is admitted to by Dukes except hitting him in the face. Apparently the Deputy claims that her actions were warrented because the inmate was breaking a rule that forbids inmates from sharing food. Upon review of the Jail’s policies it has been determined that no such rule exists. The Jail provided a self serving affidavit from another Deputy which stated that sharing food is not allowed except sometimes when a Deputy gives permission. Dukes employment file outlines 6 unpaid suspensions, unsatisfactory and needs improvement marks accross the board on her employee reviews from 1999 to present. One supervisor noted that Dukes is a liability to the County and Sheriff’s Office. Why is she still working in a place that provides ample opportunity for her to cram her fingers in other prisoners mouths…. who knows.
All too often stories like this are playing out across America in Jails and prisons. It is very rare that these stories ever reach the public, let alone go to Court for a vindication of prisoner rights. Aubrie Hicks W/ Seattle law firm Christie Law Group represents the County. Brian Christtensen W/ Ephrata law firm Jerry Moberg & Associates represents Deputy Dukes. One uneducated prisoner taking on 2 law firms to find some measure of justice and hopefully change a practice of excessive force apparently condoned by Sheriff Songer.