Prison officer

A former inmate has launched a $69 million lawsuit against the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office alleging that he was brutally assaulted by correction officers while he was incarcerated at the Riverhead correctional facility in 2022.

The suit filed by the 39-year-old Wilson Cantarero-Lopez details the shocking events that led to the alleged attack. Cantarero-Lopez’s attorney, Fred Brewington, emphasized that the public needs to hear about the dehumanizing treatment that his client suffered.

“No one should be treated this way,” Brewington said, expressing his client’s ordeal.

The complaint alleges that Cantarero-Lopez was supposed to be moved from one cell to another following an incident with a neighboring inmate. The document reveals that on March 24th, over a dozen correction officers came to Cantarero-Lopez’s cell to transfer him to a new one. However, the lawsuit’s account states that “as plaintiff stood facing the wall, he was attacked from behind as both of his feet were grabbed and pulled backward by Defendant Correction Officers causing his head to be violently propelled forward and to the side. A violent assault by defendant correction officers commenced.”

“When you’re beaten and abused by those persons who are in charge of your well-being, safekeeping, and health, you’re at their beck and call,” Brewington says.

The lawsuit also states that when Cantarero-Lopez screamed out for help and pleaded with the officers to stop, they told him to “shut the expletive up.”

According to Brewington, his client required lifesaving surgery but was forced to wait for several hours before being transferred to a medical facility capable of handling his injuries.

“There’s a culture in law enforcement that needs to be changed. They are not the determiners of what should happen,” Brewington said, pointing out that Cantarero-Lopez has been left unable to work due to his injuries, which include a loss of strength in his hands and an inability to lift things, which was a critical part of his job.

The lawsuit seeks $69 million in damages and calls for increased accountability and transparency within the Suffolk Sheriff’s Office. The allegations are disturbing and demonstrate the need for action to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

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