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Witness Settles Lawsuit Over Jail Injuries

Harrison County MS, has settled a civil rights lawsuit with a man whose kidneys failed in 2006 after he was left tightly strapped in a restraint chair for about eight hours at the Harrison County jail.

Kasey D. Alves testified against former Sheriff’s Sgt. Ryan Teel in August 2007, when Teel was convicted in a “color of law” case for the fatal beating of inmate Jessie Lee Williams Jr. and a conspiracy to abuse inmates and cover it up.

Alves’ testimony in the criminal case helped corroborate a pattern of abuse at the jail. Terms of the settlement in his suit are confidential.

What happened to Alves was “an eerie foreshadowing of what happened to Williams, federal trial attorney John Richmond said at Teel’s trial in the criminal case.

Teel, convicted on multiple counts including murder, was sentenced to life in prison; nine former jailers pleaded guilty to related but lesser charges.

Teel was the corrections officer who strapped Alves in a restraint chair a month before Teel led the fatal assault against Williams in the booking room Feb. 6, 2006. Williams also had been strapped in a restraint chair.

Jail surveillance cameras recorded both incidents. Both videos were shown at Teel’s trial.

Alves, 36, of Dayton, Ohio, was visiting the Coast when Biloxi police arrested him Jan. 7, 2006. They charged him with public drunkenness, trespassing and disorderly conduct and took him to jail.

One jail video showed corrections officers slamming Alves to the floor while he was handcuffed. He was punched, pepper-sprayed and strapped in a restraint chair.

Alves testified Teel was his primary abuser. Alves said he was deprived of water and medical treatment and officers peered at him through the Plexiglass window and made fun of him. The film showed Teel nonchalantly bouncing a ball against the window.

Alves sought treatment at Memorial Hospital after his release from jail the next day. He was diagnosed with kidney failure and was treated with dialysis.

Alves sought $15 million in damages in his civil complaint alleging violations of his civil, constitutional and human rights. Attorney Woody Pringle, who represented Alves, could not be reached for comment.

U.S. District Judge Louis Guirola Jr. had delayed hearings in Alves’ case and a series of related civil cases pending resolution of the criminal case. Guirola dismissed Alves’ case May 8 after the parties agreed to settle on undisclosed terms.

Alves initially named several others as defendants. Guirola dismissed complaints against the others, leaving as defendants Harrison County through its Board of Supervisors and former Sheriff George H. Payne Jr.

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