An Edmonton inmate claims he was intentionally shot in the testicles with a rubber bullet over the weekend as payback for a multi-million dollar lawsuit he filed against the Attorney General of Canada.
Shawn Keepness, 31, is one of three inmates who claim to have been kept in segregation for more than six weeks over the summer. The inmates filed a $5.6-million lawsuit; each seeking $1.873 million, plus damages.
Keepness's lawyer, Avnish Nanda, told Postmedia that when a fight broke out Sunday, forcing the prison into lockdown, a guard told Keepness to get on the ground and then shot him in the testicles from close range.
Nanda said his client's hands were in the air and the guard was standing about five feet away when the rubber bullet was fired.
Prisoners of the Edmonton Institution stand near a fire in the exercise yard in Edmonton. (Photo: The Canadian Press)
An emergency surgery to save his testicles was successful, said Nanda, but he told Global News he's concerned about "significant intimidation" Keepness and the other inmates have experienced since filing the lawsuit.
According to the Globe and Mail, Keepness, Matthew Hamm and Taylor Tobin were placed in solitary confinement on June 28, after prison officials were told by a confidential informant that the three men were planning to attack a group of guards.
After a review, an Alberta judge freed them, concluding the prison ignored issues around aboriginal identity, procedural fairness and mental-health history.
The trio claim they were kept segregated for a total of 43 days. According to the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the longest an inmate can be in involuntary administrative segregation is 30 days.
The Correctional Service Canada declined to comment on Keepness' claims, citing an active investigation.
However, spokesman Jeff Campbell said two inmates were sent to hospital after an incident at the prison.
"Ensuring the safety and security of institutions, staff, inmates and the public is CSC’s priority," he said in a statement sent to Huffington Post Alberta. "Correctional Officers are trained to handle difficult situations to safely resolve them in a timely manner."
Keepness is currently serving a lengthy sentence at the Edmonton Institution for manslaughter and other crimes.
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