A federal judge on Wednesday found two officials with Washington, D.C.'s Department of Corrections in contempt of court, and called on the Justice Department to investigate whether the district's jail violated the civil rights of dozens of detained Jan. 6 defendants, The Washington Post reported.
U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of Washington acted after finding jail officials failed to turn over information needed to approve surgery recommended four months ago for a Jan. 6 Capitol assault defendant's broken wrist, the Post reported.
Lamberth said failure to turn over the medical records of Christopher Worrell – who's charged with four felonies stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol — was "more than just inept and bureaucratic jostling of papers," suggesting the possibility of deliberate mistreatment.
Worrell, who broke his wrist in May, was recommended for surgery in June but still hasn’t undergone the procedure.
Former President Donald Trump and supporters have argued that jailed Jan. 6 defendants are being treated unfairly.
Lamberth ordered Quincy Booth, director of the city's Department of Corrections, and Wanda Patten, warden of the D.C. Jail, to be held in contempt of court.
"I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abused," the judge said. "I don’t know if it's because he's a January 6th defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of January 6th defendants ... in this and maybe other cases."
Lamberth suggested that the U.S. Marshals Service might have to move inmates from the D.C. jail to other detention facilities if they are receiving improper treatment.
The D.C. jail has caused frustration among U.S. judges for a long time over its conditions, specifically the impact of pandemic restrictions and crippling staff shortages at the facility, which houses 1,500 federal and local detainees.
Lamberth separately had scolded city officials for cutting down the number of rooms in the jail for virtual court visits, and for "incompetence of jail officials" in sending an inmate to him before results of a coronavirus test were known. (The prisoner did not appear before the judge.)
Protesters around the Capitol held a 'Justice for J6' rally Sept. 18 in support of a fair judicial process for those charged in the Capitol attack on Jan. 6
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
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