Muslim prisoner claims beating, abuse of Quran

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
For The Patriot-News

WILLIAMSPORT - A Muslim prisoner claims he was
assaulted, was forced to stand naked and was spat
upon, and alleges a guard damaged his Quran at the
Dauphin County Prison in May.

William T. Smith II made the allegations in a federal
civil rights lawsuit filed Monday against Corrections
Officer Roger Lucas, four other guards identified only
by last name or John Doe, and a female prison nurse.

Dauphin County Prison Warden Dominick DeRose said
yesterday it is county policy not to comment on
pending lawsuits.

Smith alleged the incident occurred May 20 after his
transfer from the State Correctional Institution at
Smithfield for a hearing in Dauphin County court on a
motion to withdraw a guilty plea.

Smith, who was kept in a day room, said that after a
third strip search, guards went through his personal
belongings. He alleged Lucas picked up the Quran,
crumpled some of the pages and threw it over his

According to the lawsuit, after Smith protested the
treatment of his Koran, a guard stroked his chin and
asked, "Where's your Muslim beard?"

About 15 minutes later, according to the court
complaint, he was told to go into a hallway where
guards spit on him and screamed.

He said he was handcuffed behind his back and thrown
down. Guards, he said, grabbed him by the hair, beat
his face into the floor and kicked his ribs and legs.

En route to the "hole," Smith alleged he was beaten
again and forced to remove his clothes. While he was
standing naked against a wall, the guards summoned a
female nurse, the document stated.

She tried to leave, Smith said, but two male
supervisors stopped her and told her she had to clean
up the wound on his shoulder, which she did about 10
minutes later.

He contended he was beaten for no reason other than
that he is Muslim, and that the Quran was desecrated
to insult other prisoners who are Muslims.

The suit, filed by attorney Don Bailey, seeks
unspecified damages. 


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