More Details Emerge Behind $151 Million Lawsuit Against Jail; Sh - KOAM TV 7

More Details Emerge Behind $151 Million Lawsuit Against Jail; Sheriff's Office; County Commissioners

Alexender Trexel Alexender Trexel
Vernon County Jail Vernon County Jail

More details come to light on a lawsuit alleging organized fights at the Vernon County Jail.  The plaintiff of this case, according to his attorney, has been in jail several times in the past for drug charges, burglary, and stealing.  Most recently, he was in the Vernon County Jail for misdemeanor stealing and burglary.

Attorney Dustin Dunfield says one part of the Vernon County Jail has a cruel purpose.

"There's at least four pods out there, and this is taking place in Pod D," says Dunfield.

Dunfield says his client, 20-year-old Alexender Trexel, was subject to punishment.

"If you don't do what you're told in the other pods, those individuals in the other pods are threatened that if you don't do what you're told, we're going to stick you to Pod D," says Dunfield.

Dunfield says an inmate "enforcer" who fights other inmates is awarded by jail staff.

"Received free commissary.  Money has been added to his account.  Not from family members.  Not from friends.  I was also contacted yesterday, and I'm going to meet with this individual, who says he was used in this enforcer role in the past," says Dunfield.

Dunfield says Trexel was forced to take part in "fight night" at least nine times.

"Had to be transported to the city hospital.  Received stitches above his left eye.  Was refused even local anesthetic when he received the stitches.  The response from the officer who took him there, he informed the medical staff that the county won't pay for it.  Just stitch him up.  My client was told he wouldn't be transported back to the hospital to have his stitches removed.  He, along with another inmate, removed the stitches in their cell," says Dunfield.

Dunfield and Trexel are suing county commissioners, jail staff, and the county sheriff for alleged violations of constitutional rights.

"Count one is asking for $100,000, as well as $25 million.  Count two is requesting the same amount.  Count three, $1 million, as well as $100 million," says Dunfield.

The lawsuit asks for a total of $151,200,000.  

"We think that will wake people up," says Dunfield.

Dunfield says 20 other former and current inmates at the Vernon County Jail so far have come forward with similar allegations.

"We hear these types of allegations all the time.  This is actually the first time I've ever seen there might be something to this," says Dunfield.

Dunfield says this case could turn into a class action lawsuit.

The Vernon County sheriff told us by phone that he wants to issue a statement, but has been told not to by the county attorney.  Dunfield says he's in the process of requesting security camera footage from the Vernon County Jail.


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