Judge declines to dismiss Washington County from lawsuit over inmate's death


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JONESBOROUGH, Tennessee — A federal judge has declined to dismiss a lawsuit against Washington County over the death of an inmate.

The Johnson City Press (http://bit.ly/1EI5vX0) reports U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Greer recently denied the county's request for summary judgment due to "genuine issues of material fact as to whether a constitutional violation occurred" and because he "cannot find the defendants did not violate a clearly established right."

Joe and Natasha Peppers filed suit against the county, the sheriff and six jailers asking for $21 million after their son, Stewart Peppers, died behind bars. They claim their son was beaten by jailers after he began shouting obscenities.

County officials have said he became unresponsive while jailers were trying to restrain him due to "combative, bizarre and destructive behavior." An autopsy found he died of "excited delirium" due to drug use.

Information from: Johnson City Press, http://www.johnsoncitypress.com

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