Female inmate paralyzed from the neck down after being brutally beaten and 'dragged like a rag doll' by Florida prison guards
The guards allegedly beat Cheryl Weimar on August 21 when she informed them that she was unable to clean a toilet because of a pre-existing hip condition. Weimar reportedly had a known history of both physical and mental disabilities.
Several women, including former prison inmates, have come out in support of Cheryl Weimar, an inmate at the largest women's prison in Florida who was allegedly beaten so badly by four prison guards that she is now paralyzed from the neck down. Weimar has received support from multiple women, including former inmates who have shared their personal experiences of physical and sexual abuse behind bars.
According to Law & Crime, a lawsuit filed in federal court on Tuesday claims that four male prison guards viciously beat a mentally and physically disabled female inmate, breaking her neck and leaving her paralyzed from the neck down. The lawsuit was filed against the Lowell Correctional Institution, a women’s prison in unincorporated Marion County, and four unnamed prison guards by Cheryl A. Weimar, 51, and her husband Karl Weimar. The guards allegedly beat Weimar on August 21 when she informed them that she was unable to clean a toilet because of a pre-existing hip condition. Weimar reportedly had a known history of both physical and mental disabilities that both the correctional institution and its guards were aware of. She was sentenced to six years in prison in 2016 and was reportedly scheduled to be released in 2021.
“[O]ne or more of the John Doe Defendants slammed Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar to the ground. While down, they brutally beat her with blows to her head, neck, and back. At least one John Doe Defendant elbowed Plaintiff Cheryl Weimar in the back of her neck, causing her to suffer a broken neck,” the suit says. The guards then dragged Weimar to a wheelchair “like a rag doll,” allowing her head to hit the floor repeatedly, and took her outside of the compound, where there were no surveillance cameras, “so they could continue their brutal attack,” the lawsuit said. The attack reportedly caused Weimar to suffer “life-threatening and permanent injuries." She no longer has the ability to use her arms and legs and is currently breathing via a tracheostomy, wherein a tube is surgically inserted into the windpipe below the vocal cords. According to the lawsuit, she will require around-the-clock medical treatment for the remainder of her life.
Florida Department of Corrections spokesman Rob Klepper said in an email that the agency doesn’t comment on pending litigation and that it hasn’t yet been served with the lawsuit. The guards have been reassigned to jobs that don’t have contact with inmates as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates the case, Klepper said.
Jordyn Cahill, a former Lowell inmate, was one of the women who came out in support of Weimar, who was imprisoned for a conviction of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. According to Fox News, Cahill used her time in prison to better herself and eventually became a certified paralegal. Cahill released a message on YouTube saying that she is "astounded" by the attack on Weimar and detailed her own experiences of sexual assault and harassment at the hands of guards and officials during her time there. Other women have also come out with posts on social media slamming the Florida Department of Corrections for the incident.
“For Cheryl, and for any other incarcerated woman who has been physically abused or sexually abused by any officer, or any male inmate who has been sexually or physically abused by any officer, I am going to tell my story, I’m going to promote others to tell their story and I’m going to share the f--- out of it,’’ Cahill said.
According to the Miami Herald, Weimar’s husband plans on filing a request with a judge for an emergency order allowing him to take photographs of Weimar’s injuries, which the Florida Department of Corrections has prohibited him or Weimar’s attorney from doing. They are also attempting to access the prison’s surveillance videos.