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Man 'tortured' by officers in York County Jail, court documents allege

The man says he was pinned down while officers used a Taser repeatedly on his chest for as long as a full minute, according to court documents.

WELLS, Maine — A former inmate at the York County Jail says his constitutional rights were violated when he was tortured by officers who repeatedly used a Taser on him after his request for medication fell on deaf ears.

Brian Dunnigan was taken to York County Jail after being arrested in February 2018 for disorderly conduct. According to court documents, the arrest came after a dispute broke out between Dunnigan and another patron at an Ogunquit bar.

The misdemeanor charges have since been dropped.

The Wells resident is now suing York County, Sheriff William King, and three jail guards who allegedly were involved in last year’s incident, for violating his civil rights.

Dunnigan says he was taken to the jail and placed in a cell alone. He says he told corrections officers and a nurse that he is diabetic and would soon need insulin, but he says they ignored his requests.

In addition to diabetes, the former inmate says he had recently had surgery on his shoulder and says he told the officers he would soon need medication for that as well.

The complaint, which was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Portland, details the events prior to three officers allegedly pinning Dunnigan down and using a Taser on him over and over, sometimes for as long as one minute.

The plaintiff admitted he was verbally aggressive toward the guards, but says it was only because he desperately needed his medication and the officers weren’t giving it to him.

He says his remarks did not warrant the abuse he took from the officers --abuse his attorney says led to three broken ribs and necessitated corrective surgery on his shoulder.

Court documents allege the officer who used the Taser was not properly trained or re-certified to use the device, stating the company that provides the devices to police departments requires annual re-certification and wasn't done by the York County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff King did not respond to repeated requests for comment Monday and Tuesday.

Only one York County commissioner responded to an email, telling NEWS CENTER Maine, "I will not comment on a pending lawsuit. Please contact the County Manager, Greg Zinser, or our county sheriff."

York County Manager Gregory T. Zinser said in an email Tuesday, "As a matter of practice, York County does not comment on matters involving litigation."

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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