Lawsuit filed against McLean County Sheriff’s office, plaintiff claims her son’s constitutional rights were violated

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – A lawsuit has been filed against the McLean County Sheriff’s Office, McLean County, and various jail staff after plaintiff Latasha Rayford said her son LaVonte Rayford’s 4th Amendment rights were violated.

According to a lawsuit filed at the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois, LaVonte suffered three seizures while in custody at the McLean County Jail on June 27, 2019.

Court documents indicate that LaVonte was epileptic and claims that he wasn’t provided his seizure medication, despite jail employees receiving a prescription and medication orders from his physician.

During his third seizure, the lawsuit states LaVonte fell to the floor and injured his face and head. After going to the hospital, he was then permitted to take his medication.

“Any time a jail takes someone into custody, they have an obligation to provide him if necessary. You can’t act unreasonably, and we believe that in this situation they did because they had every opportunity to give him the seizure medication,” said Shawn Barnett, an attorney representing Latasha Rayford.

In court documents, the defendants did not clearly explain why medicine was not given to Lavonte after he experienced seizures.

In a written response to the lawsuit, Carrie Haas, an attorney representing the McLean County Sheriff’s Office, McLean County, and 16 other defendants stated, “the defendants did not violate any clearly established constitutional right of which a reasonable person would have known, thus entitling them to qualified immunity”.

The lawsuit states that Latasha Rayford is seeking an award of compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and, any other relief.

“I hope that regardless of the outcome of this case that the jail does implement new policies and new training to ensure that anyone that comes in with prescription medication, that those prescriptions are checked immediately,” Barnett said.

WMBD-TV contacted attorney Carrie Haas for this story and she said, “McLean County does not comment on pending litigation.”

Both the plaintiff and defendants have requested a jury trial.

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