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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1, March 14, 2002: United States of America

1709. By letter dated 30 September 2001, the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information concerning the high rate of inmate-on- inmate sexual abuse in prisons. About 20 per cent of inmates have reportedly experienced at least one episode of forced sexual contact in detention and about 7 per cent have been raped. Depending on their age, looks, sexual orientation and other characteristics, certain prisoners are believed to be specifically targeted for sexual assault in penal facilities, and subsequently “enslaved” by other inmates. […]

1711. Robin Lucas, an African-American transgendered woman, was reportedly detained for credit card fraud in California in 1995 and placed in the Special Housing Unit of the Federal Detention Centre, Pleasanton, where the authorities allegedly ignored her complaints about being in a unit generally housing men and visible to male inmates and guards, including when showering and using the toilet. She was reportedly harassed, taunted and threatened because of her sexual orientation. In September 1995, three male inmates raped her. She reportedly suffered severe injuries to her neck, arms, back, vagina and anus. The guards implicated in these abuses were reportedly transferred to another facility and no disciplinary action was taken. A civil lawsuit for compensation was reportedly settled in her favour in 1998.

1713. Gary Adkins, an inmate at Wayne County jail in West Virginia, was reportedly assaulted by correctional officers for no apparent reason in October 1999, had mace sprayed in his eyes, was beaten and subsequently denied medical treatment, resulting in a broken nose and ribs, contusions to the head and cuts and bruises. The FBI reportedly launched an investigation, which is under review by the Department of Justice. Fears have been expressed that the cause of the alleged beating was the homosexuality of the victim.

1714. Frederick Mason was reportedly arrested by police officers of the Chicago Police Department on 19 July 2000. At the police station, two unidentified officers cuffed him by the elbows and pinned him to a wall. The arresting officer reportedly pulled down his trousers and sprayed blue cleaning liquid on a billy club before ramming the baton into Mason’s rectum, whilst making remarks such as “I’m tired of you faggot – you sick motherfucker”. As a result, he reportedly had blood streaming from his rectum. His doctor reportedly confirmed the injury. The case is said to be under investigation by the police department’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS); however, the police chief allegedly insisted that “even the most basic facts do not support Frederick Mason’s allegations”.

1715. Kentin Waits was reportedly involved in a minor traffic altercation with a Chicago police officer on 22 July 2000. The next morning, he was reportedly arrested at his home, and taken to the 19th District Belmont and Western police station where he was charged with assault. Staff reportedly applauded his arrival at the station. While handcuffed, he was slammed into doors and walls, resulting in lacerations to his wrists and bruises to his upper arms.  He was reportedly taken to an interrogation room, handcuffed to an overhead bar, and then beaten on the face and head and kneed in the groin. The arresting officer allegedly called him a “fucking faggot” and “gay motherfucker”. He was reportedly held in a cell for 22 hours, suffering from severe pain in the stomach, but denied medical treatment. In October 2000, his case was reportedly submitted for investigation to the Chicago OPS, but “not sustained” for lack of proof.

1716. Jeffrey Lyons was reportedly assaulted by a group of between 8 and 10 off-duty police officers in Chicago on 25 November 2000, who broke his nose and fractured his cheekbone, causing neurological damage, after he embraced a male friend outside a bar. An unidentified officer reportedly said “get this through your head, you faggots will never win”. Jeffrey Lyons allegedly briefly lost consciousness. The officers, in two cars, reportedly tried to run over Jeffrey Lyons’ companion as he took down their licence plate numbers. The case is said to be under investigation by OPS. The police reportedly failed to secure the crime scene and prevented Jeffrey Lyons from making a positive identification of his assailant until 21⁄2 weeks after the incident had been highlighted in the local press. Three officers identified as the owners of the fleeing cars were reportedly initially suspended, but have since returned to duty.

Link to full text of the report: report of the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, E/CN.4/2002/76/Add.1