Inmate who sustained 'severely bruised' kidney in beating sues correctional officers

By Jon Campisi | Sep 19, 2012

A county prison inmate claims in a recently filed civil action in state court that he

sustained a “severely” bruised kidney following an incident earlier this summer in which he was beaten by prison guards.

Alex Ben-Salem, a Philadelphia resident, alleges that on July 24, Corrections Officer Wood, no first name given, who works at the Holmesburg Prison in Philadelphia, assaulted him as part of an interrogation to get Ben-Salem to admit to vandalizing prison facilities.

Ben-Salem had been arrested two days prior by Philadelphia police for possession of an instrument of crime and criminal mischief and sent to a county prison in Northeast Philadelphia after he was unable to post bail, according to the complaint, which was filed Sept. 12 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas by Philadelphia attorney Brian Zeiger.

Ben-Salem was subsequently transferred to the prison in the Holmesburg section of the city.

After Ben-Salem was accused of vandalism at the prison, Wood and two other guards, listed in the complaint only as Corrections Officer Black and Corrections Officer Whitshef, brought the plaintiff into an area known as the “strip room,” where they subsequently beat and tortured the plaintiff, the lawsuit alleges.

The prison guards forced the plaintiff into a push-up position, punched Ben-Salem in the face, wrapped the plaintiff’s hands in a towel and proceeded to stomp on his hands, and “stomped” on the plaintiff’s ribs and kidney area, eventually leaving Ben-Salem with a severely bruised kidney that required medical attention, the lawsuit states.

Wood carried out much of the attack while Black and Whitshef stood by and watched, never attempting to stop the assault by their coworker, the complaint alleges.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants refused to immediately render medical aid to Ben-Salem.

It also claims that the plaintiff never carried out the vandalism that he was accused of committing, and which was the alleged basis for the assault.

The lawsuit contains counts of assault and battery and conspiracy.

Ben-Salem seeks compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, plus punitive damages, attorney’s fees, costs and other court relief.

A jury trial has been demanded.


The case ID number is 120901309. 

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