Edmonton inmate shot in testicles after filing lawsuit over solitary confinement: lawyer
An Edmonton lawyer says his client was shot in the testicles by a guard at Edmonton Institution over the weekend in retribution for his part in a $5.6-million lawsuit against the Attorney General of Canada.
Avnish Nanda, the lawyer representing three Edmonton inmates in the lawsuit, said his client Shawn Keepness was shot by a guard with a rubber bullet.
Nanda said Keepness told him a incident occurred on his unit, which led to a lockdown. Keepness said he was in his cell when a guard entered and told him to get on the ground.
He said he had his hands in the air when he was shot from about five feet away.
Keepness was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital and had surgery, Nanda said. He is expected to be transferred back to the prison on Monday.
A spokesperson for the Correctional Services of Canada said an incident occurred at Edmonton Institution on Saturday, Nov. 26 where two inmates required medical attention at an outside hospital.
Jeff Campbell said there is an ongoing investigation but was unable to provide any further comment on the incident.
Campbell said ensuring the safety and security of institutions, staff, inmates and the public is a priority.
“Correctional officers are trained to handle difficult situations to safely resolve them in a timely manner,” Campbell said in a statement to Global News.
“CSC examines all operational incidents in order to improve its practices wherever possible.”
Nanda said his client has faced “significant intimidation” since he and two other inmates filed a $5.6-million lawsuit claiming they were placed in segregation for 43 consecutive days over the summer. Each inmate is seeking $1.873 million plus damages.
According to a statement of claim filed on Oct. 25, Matthew Hamm, 37, Taylor Tobin, 19, and Keepness, 31, were placed in “involuntary administrative segregation” on June 30, 2016 because of a belief they were planning to harm or assault correctional officers. They claim the segregation was unlawful and procedurally unfair.
The inmates were released from segregation on Aug. 10, after a successful application to the court.
According to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the longest an inmate can be in involuntary administrative segregation is 30 days.
Keepness is serving a sentence for manslaughter.
Edmonton Institution is a maximum-security institution for inmates serving terms of two years or more.
None of the allegations has been proven in court.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published on Monday, Nov. 28, 2016. It was updated at 9:51 a.m. Tuesday to include a statement from the Correctional Services of Canada.
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