A former Long Beach resident has filed a
federal civil rights lawsuit, saying he was abused by a Harrison
County jail booking officer who is now serving a life sentence.
John Aaron Vanderburg claims in the lawsuit that he was
body-slammed, choked and cuffed to a toilet for several hours by an
officer he believed to be Ryan Teel. The 41-year-old says the
attack came in 2005 after he tried to stop officers from hurting a
woman who also was being held at the jail.
Teel is serving a life sentence after he was convicted of an
inmate's murder and conspiracy to deprive inmates' civil rights at
Vanderburg, who has since moved to Pensacola, Fla., claims he
tried to stop Teel and another officer when they allegedly choked
the woman and slammed her face against the floor while putting her
in a restraint jacket.
Vanderburg has asked for a jury trial and is seeking unspecified
Others named in the suit are the Harrison County Board of
Supervisors, former Sheriff George H. Payne Jr., former Maj. Wayne
Payne, former Warden Diane Gatson-Riley, former Capt. Rick Gaston,
former Capt. Steve Campbell, Comptroller Robert Parker, the
American Corrections Association, James A. Gondles Jr. of the ACA,
and Health Assurance LLC.
The lawsuit was filed Wednesday.
Vanderburg was booked in the jail May 26, 2005, on misdemeanor
He said he arrived with a previous knee injury and left the jail
with serious injuries inflicted in violation of his civil rights.
The lawsuit says the alleged beating came after he saw two
officers put duct tape on the female detainee's mouth to silence
Then, the lawsuit states, the officer believed to be Teel
dragged him to a cell, cuffed him to a toilet and said, "Welcome