Lawsuit: ‘Orange Crush’ guard unit terrorized, humiliated Southern Illinois inmates | Belleville News-Democrat

Posted: February 7, 2016 by scaryhouse in Uncategorized

BY GEORGE PAWLACZYK –  EAST ST. LOUIS

Inmates know them as “Orange Crush.” They are an elite, mobile Illinois Department of Corrections tactical unit, which civil rights lawyers say regularly humiliated and terrorized more than a thousand Illinois inmates on various occasions using tactics such as forcing them to march naked in single-file, tight formations, causing men’s genitals to press against the buttocks of men in front of them.

The special squad calls the exercise “nuts-to-butts,” according to a civil rights class-action lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in East St. Louis, and state prison officials aren’t commenting on it.

Members of the tactical unit begin the tactic by running onto a prison tier when female guards are sometimes also present, “whooping,” banging on metal tables and shouting to prisoners: “Get butt-naked.”

The guards do this, according to the lawsuit, while dressed in orange fatigues, wearing helmets, carrying clubs and chanting “Punish the inmate. Punish the inmate.”

Hundreds of prisoners at a time were marched in this way in April of 2014 at four Southern Illinois prisons while being threatened by laughing guards who shouted they would be taken immediately to solitary confinement if they allowed any daylight between themselves and the man in front of them, the plaintiffs’ lawyers allege. Prisoners were eventually led to an exercise area and made to stand for hours with their faces pressed against a wall while their hands were cuffed behind them in a “stress” position. During this time, other members of the guard unit searched the prisoners’ cells for contraband.

“This is above and beyond what I’ve seen ever in the 35 years I’ve been doing this kind of work,” said civil rights attorney Alan Mills of the Chicago-based Uptown People’s Law Center, one of two law firms pressing the lawsuit. “This is part of some official policy. Higher-ups in IDOC will have to explain what in the world they were thinking when they gave these people this kind of direction and leeway.”

Alan Mills, attorney for inmates Mills said the practice continued on at least a few occasions after the lawsuit was filed in 2015.

Source: Lawsuit: ‘Orange Crush’ guard unit terrorized, humiliated Southern Illinois inmates | Belleville News-Democrat

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