A gay former inmate has sued the
Mecklenburg County jail for ignoring his pleas for protection.
According to The Charlotte Observer,
Arthur Blake claims in his complaint that he was brutally attacked on
August 1, 2014 by another inmate while unprotected after he had
repeatedly warned deputies that Timothy Belcher, who was open about
his hatred for gay people, had threatened him.
Blake said that he pleaded guilty to
involuntary manslaughter and other charges to speed up his transfer
out of the jail.
Blake is represented by Jake Sussman of
“The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s
Office failed to take very basic steps to adequately protect one of
its inmates … and the result was that Mr. Blake suffered a brutal
told the outlet. “Prior to this assault, Mr. Blake had been
harassed and demeaned by certain employees of the Sheriff’s Office
because Mr. Blake is gay. This is unacceptable, especially from
public employees whose job is to serve and protect.”
Sussman added that jailers called his
client “Miss Blake” during his incarceration.
In his complaint, Blake stated that he
began reporting the threats to officials in July 2014 and that he
reiterated his plea for protection as late as two hours before the
attack occurred. Belcher banged Blake's head on the floor and gouged
his eyes, according to the suit.
In response to the attack, Blake was
placed in solitary confinement for four days.
A lawyer representing the jail said in
an email that officials “dispute the charges and intend to
vigorously defend the lawsuit.”