A Jefferson County jail inmate has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and a national inmate transportation company claiming his
own blood and feces froze to his body during a 10-day saga from New Mexico to Colorado.
Joseph Mark Mondragon has also named Prisoner Transportation Services, Correctional Healthcare Companies and more than 30 people individually as defendants in the lawsuit.
Mondragon's Denver attorneys, David Lane and Michael Fairhurst , are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a formal apology.
During a 10-day extradition trip in a van between Albuquerque and Golden in March 2014, the lawsuit alleges the defendants burned Modragon's eye with cigarette butts, arbitrarily Maced him in the face and forced him to sit in blood and feces.
"The air was so cold at times during the extradition that human waste and blood froze to Mr. Mondragon's clothing...," the lawsuit says.
During the trip, the van floor was covered with vomit, urine and the remnants of Mace, the suit alleges. Mondragon and as many as nine other inmates were kept in their seats for up to 58 hours at a time.
At times there were not enough seat belts to secure inmates, who were restrained by handcuffs, ankle chains and waist chains. When Mondragon complained, the suit says, the driver would purposely step on the brakes hard, throwing him from his seat and causing him to strike hard surfaces of the van. Guards would also threaten to kick his teeth in or hold Mace inches from his eyes if he didn't stop complaining, according to the lawsuit.
Transport guards would encourage inmates to strike Mondragon, the lawsuit says. He was repeatedly head butted by other inmates, as a result.
Mondragon was taken to different states in a winding route to the Colorado jail. When he was in the Daviess County Jail in Kentucky, he made 12 requests to go to a hospital for various medical problems he encountered but was denied, the lawsuit says.
Guards discarded Mondragon's possessions, including a rosary, a Bible and photographs of his family.
They called him racial slurs and constantly addressed him with obscenities, the lawsuit says.