Federal civil rights lawsuit filed against JaCo Jail over treatment

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Homeless man John Lee Malaer was arrested in July of 2019 on disorderly conduct and menacing charges in Medford.

Taken to Jackson County Jail, Malaer’s attorney says he was slapped on two occasions by a sheriff’s deputy while already handcuffed in a wheelchair.

“Sheriff’s deputies afterward were heard jail staff saying my client getting hit in the face was quote ‘the funniest thing I have ever seen,'” Malaer’s attorney, Alicia Leduc Montgomery said.

Leduc Montgomery says the disabled man uses a catheter for a longtime bladder infection and was without it for hours in custody.

“Had his head pushed between his legs as a paraplegic with an existing spinal injury, then left on the ground without a wheelchair, medical catheter,” Leduc Montgomery said.

Unable to get up and use the sink, she says her client was forced to drink from his cell’s toilet, and sat in his own urine for hours.

When he finally was released, Leduc Montgomery says Malaer was hospitalized.

She says his pre-existing infection had severely worsened after not being given his antibiotics in custody.

The lawsuit is similar to another active one that was filed after a separate Jackson County Jail incident in 2019.

It claims several deputies handcuffed then-OSF actor Juan Sancho to the urine grate in his cell, forcing him to lay in his own urine for hours.

All charges against both men were later dropped.

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Ethan McReynolds is a reporter and weekend anchor for NBC5 News. He grew up in Bothell, Washington and graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Broadcasting and minors in Journalism and Sport Management. At Gonzaga, he started his own sports podcast. Ethan loves rooting for his hometown Seattle sports teams, especially the Mariners. He loves playing baseball, basketball, and soccer. He is also an avid Taylor Swift fan.
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