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A paraplegic inmate in Missouri was allegedly forced to go without a shower for five months because bathrooms at the jail housing him aren’t wheelchair-accessible, according to a new federal lawsuit.
Anthony Tillman, 39 — who stands accused of firing a gun at a vehicle with a child inside — was given a rag and a tub of water but hasn’t been able to fully clean himself at the St. Louis City Justice Center, according to the suit, filed by advocacy groups on his behalf Tuesday.
“I just want to be treated fair, like how everyone else is supposed to be treated,” Tillman said in a press release from one advocacy group, ArchCity Defenders.
Tillman has a bullet lodged in his back from a 2017 shooting — and previously fell and cut himself while trying to use a shower at the jail in February 2020, leading to a blood infection and hospitalization, according to the lawsuit.
The jail’s lack of wheelchair-accessible shower facilities violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the lawsuit, which demands that the jail provide access to a shower that accommodates Tillman’s disability.
Tillman says he was told by medical staff that they won’t help him bathe because the jail is not a “long-term care facility,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which cited the lawsuit.
Tillman has been confined to the second-floor infirmary alongside inmates in COVID-19 quarantine since Oct. 5, the suit states.
He is facing gun charges along with charges of domestic assault and endangering the welfare of a child for firing a gun at a vehicle carrying a child on Feb. 29, 2020.
The city-run jail has had three inmate uprisings since December, including a violent outbreak in February, when 117 inmates — furious about COVID-19 protocols — set fires and tossed items out windows.
A city spokesman, Jacob Long, on Wednesday declined to comment on the lawsuit.
With Post wires
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