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Davis jail inmate lawsuit alleges stabbing by deputy with scissors

By Mark Shenefelt - | Feb 6, 2023

BRIAN WOLFER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

The Davis County Sheriff's Corrections Emergency Response Team has tactical ways of getting inmates to cooperate. Members are seen here at the jail during a drill on Sept. 25, 2014.

FARMINGTON — A former inmate has filed an updated civil rights lawsuit against Davis County alleging that jail deputies stabbed him and caused permanent injuries to his arms in a Sept. 26, 2020, incident.

Angel Christopher Abreu’s initial complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City in September 2021, was rejected because of procedural problems listed by the judge. Abreu filed the suit without the assistance of an attorney.

But he later acquired the services of Deiss Law of Salt Lake City, which filed an amended complaint last week naming the county and 16 jail deputies as defendants.

The new complaint alleges that a corrections emergency response team was called to Abreu’s cell and that as deputies were removing him, an officer stabbed him with scissors, which CERT team members carry for uses such as cutting inmates’ clothing.

He also said that handcuffing and restraint actions by deputies allegedly caused permanent damage to his wrists and aggravated a previous shoulder injury.

The suit characterized the actions as excessive use of force that violated Abreu’s civil rights.

Abreu’s initial complaint also accused corrections deputies of unconstitutionally restricting his practicing of his Muslim religion, but there is no mention of that claim in the updated complaint.

Stephanie Dinsmore, Davis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said officials had no comment on the complaint because it had not yet been served on the county.

Abreu, 26, of Ogden, is charged with aggravated murder, burglary and kidnapping in the Sept. 27, 2018, shooting of Anthony Child, 26. Charging documents allege that Abreu was the triggerman in a three-man robbery at a drug house. His trial is scheduled for 2024. He no longer is housed in the Davis jail. He is held at the Weber County Jail in Ogden.

The suit alleged that the incident began when a deputy ordered him to allow handcuffs to be placed on him in preparation for being moved to another housing unit at the jail. The complaint said Abreu asked that he be allowed to pack up his belongings before the move, but the deputy denied the request and CERT officers soon entered the cell.

CERT team members were told that Abreu had a razor in his cell, that he had a history of assault, that he was not cooperating with the initial deputy and he was “making preparations to fight,” the suit alleged. Abreu was “intending to comply with the move without use of force,” according to the suit.

Deputies called for an ambulance because of the stab wound, the suit said. The wound was treated at a hospital. “Officers circulated a myth that Mr. Abreu caused his own stabbing by having a razor on his person,” the suit alleged, adding that no razor was found.

He said he was diagnosed with paresthesia in his wrists, a condition caused by pressure on a nerve.


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