As previously reported, while being held at the Ramsey County workhouse, Sandra Grazzini-Rucki suffered a head injury on November 24, 205 that required brief hospitalization: Sandra Grazzini-Rucki Hospitalized (With Updates)
Shocking details have emerged from the Workhouse about the serious nature of Sandra’s injuries, and how she was mistreated and humiliated by the officer on guard, Deputy Timothy Gonder.
Sandra has filed a PREA Complaint with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office in care of Sheriff Tim Leslie on May 17th detailing this incident.
According to the complaint, Sandra suffered a serious injury to the face that involved fractured bones and a substantial amount of blood loss. Sandra was transported handcuffed and leg shackled to a stretcher from the workhouse to a local hospital.
At approximately 0400-0500 hours Deputy Timothy Gonder arrived at the hospital to relieve the guard on duty and assume watch over Sandra; her suffering was greatly exacerbated by the cruel and humiliating treatment he inflicted on her.
The PREA Complaint filed by Sandra Grazzini-Rucki includes the following allegations:
- Deputy Gonder intruded on her medical care, and denied her privacy, even when instructed to wait behind a curtain when instructed by medical staff. Deputy Gonder even refused to look away (as instructed) when she had to use the bathroom.
- Deputy Gonder waited when medical staff left the room and then took out his personal cell phone and snapped pictures without her consent; and then was observed to be laughing and talking on the same phone – presumably sending out pictures (via text) of a vulnerable, and bruised woman who was incapacitated due to the hand and leg cuffs and totally unable to stop these violations against her person. Deputy Gonder also relayed confidential medical and personal information he received from medical staff to whoever was on the phone. (PREA § 115.6 Definitions related to sexual abuse. Sexual abuse includes—(8) Voyeurism by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer. Voyeurism by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer means an invasion of privacy of an inmate, detainee, or resident by staff for reasons unrelated to official duties, such as peering at an inmate who is using a toilet in his or her cell to perform bodily functions; requiring an inmate to expose his or her buttocks, genitals, or breasts; or taking images of all or part of an inmate’s naked body or of an inmate performing bodily functions.)
- Shackled her on the bed in a spread eagle position and refused to allow the nurse to shut the door for privacy. The nurse also asked to release the leg shackle so she could change positions, and that request was also denied.
- Deputy Gonder is also accused of laughing and making inappropriate remarks at various times during her hospital stay, and after, at the Dakota County Courthouse.
Sandra asked for another guard because her attorney has an active case, involving various complaints, against Gonder. Her request was not only refused but Deputy Gonder laughed and allegedly stated “nobody else was available but him”.
When Deputy Gonder was finally relieved of his position, the incoming guard was reported to be much more professional, and to have treated Sandra with basic dignity and respect.
Inmates do have basic rights and are protected by the U.S. Constitution, “Any punishment that can be considered inhumane treatment or that violates the basic concept of a person’s dignity may be found to be cruel and unusual.” (http://civilrights.findlaw.com/other-constitutional-rights/rights-of-inmates.html) Inmates also have the right to complain about how they are treated while incarcerated. PREA stands for The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct and/or harassment in correctional settings.
The PREA Complaint process has been initiated and is currently under investigation.
The Justice Blog will continue to keep you updated on the Grazzini-Rucki Trial, so please check back for breaking news and reports.