Ex-inmate says Ore. jail cut water to his cell, forcing him to drink from toilet

The former inmate alleges he was forced to drink from a feces-filled toilet after deputies shut off his water and ignored his pleas to turn the tap back on for four days

Everton Bailey Jr.
The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A former Clackamas County jail inmate claims he was forced to drink from a feces-filled toilet in 2015 after deputies shut off his running water and ignored his pleas to turn the tap back on for four days.

Nicholas Martin said in a federal lawsuit filed Thursday that a jail deputy told him the cell's faucet and toilet were being shut off because he had tried to flood his cell by stuffing up the toilet.

He said other jail deputies either ignored him when he pressed the emergency call button or hit the cell door's window. Their actions forced Martin to resort to drinking from the toilet, the lawsuit said.

"(Martin) told the individually-named non-command defendants that he had to do this, but they did not respond or do anything," according to the suit.

Martin, 35, of Silverton, was booked into the jail on Nov. 21, 2015 and was soon placed on suicide watch, the lawsuit said. His water was cut off Nov. 27.

He was given only "minimal" water to take his medication. Deputies made no notes of the conditions in the cell while charting his progress on suicide watch, according to the lawsuit. 

Martin said the water was restored Nov. 30, when two jail mental health workers and another jail deputy intervened, according to the suit. He was released from suicide watch the same day.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages for civil rights violations and cruel and unusual punishment. He is suing Clackamas County, the jail commander and 35 jail workers, all of whom he claims ignored his pleas for help over the four days.

At the time, Martin was accused in Clackamas County Circuit Court of driving-related crimes including unauthorized use of a vehicle, court records show. He was convicted of that offense, and others, in May 2016. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

©2017 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

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