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Inmate sues Anchorage over jailhouse treatment

Posted: March 27, 2014 - 8:24pm  |  Updated: March 27, 2014 - 10:02pm

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Anchorage inmate has filed a lawsuit against the city, its police department and the state over his treatment after a self-induced drug coma during a 2012 arrest and a subsequent jailhouse beating.

Clay Miears is seeking at least $1 million in the personal-injury lawsuit, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The lawsuit names the city, a police officer and the state as defendants.

Miears maintains the officer, Michael Lofton, failed to get him prompt medical care after Miears swallowed methamphetamine and heroin during his arrest on charges including failing to stop at an officer’s direction. Miears, 39, was in a coma for four days, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also says corrections officers at the Anchorage jail did not protect Miears from a beating by inmates or provide necessary medical treatment.

State and city officials have declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Feb. 28. Miears’ attorney, Gayle Brown, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

According to charges filed by police after the 2012 arrest, a woman reported a car swerving at other vehicles on the Glenn Highway. Police said an officer spotted the Chevrolet Aveo and tried to pull it over, but the car sped away, reaching speeds of up to 100 mph. According to court documents, the officer was told to discontinue his pursuit.

A few minutes later, a man called police to report the Chevrolet had hit his pickup truck and he followed the vehicle to a location, where the driver of the Chevrolet jumped out and ran off, according to the charges. Police tracked the driver’s footprints in deep snow to an apartment, where Miears was found and arrested, the charges say.

According to a police report by Lofton, Miears’ speech was coherent at first, then began to deteriorate.

“As I spoke to Clay, he stated that he had swallowed heroin and meth as we were contacting him,” the officer wrote. “Clay said he swallowed about three grams of heroin and one gram of meth ... Clay was acting very erratically, having difficulty sitting still and at times speaking incoherently.”

Police called medics to check Miears, but “it was determined” he did not need immediate medical attention, according to Lofton’s report. The lawsuit says the officer made that decision.

According to the lawsuit, Miears told the officer he was suffering from ingesting the drugs and needed to go straight to a hospital, but was not taken for treatment until a “considerable time later.”

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