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DC Jail Officials Found in Contempt Over Jan. 6 Defendant Treatment

NBC Washington D.C. logo NBC Washington D.C. 10/14/2021 Scott MacFarlane, News4 I-Team Reporter and NBC Washington Staff
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A federal judge found D.C. corrections officials in contempt of court Wednesday in connection to medical treatment of a Jan. 6 defendant. The judge said he’ll refer the matter to the Justice Department to determine whether the jail is violating the rights of Capitol insurrection suspects. 

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth ruled D.C. Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth and the D.C. jail warden in contempt for failing to follow court orders to provide medical paperwork and records on Jan. 6 defendant Chris Worrell.

Worrell, who is accused of deploying chemical spray at police on Jan 6., has a broken hand and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In court proceedings Lamberth alleged that jail leaders failed to address Worrell’s broken hand and failed to promptly handle court orders. A doctor recommended surgery for the hand in June; in recent days the surgery still had not occurred. 

Civil penalties are possible for the District, the corrections director and the warden, the judge said. 

D.C. corrections officials said in a statement: "The DC Department of Corrections (DOC) is committed to ensuring all inmates have access to continuity of health care services so their medical needs are met in a timely and efficient manner."

Lamberth said he would refer the matter to the U.S. attorney general to determine if the jail is violating the rights of Jan. 6 insurrection defendants. 

Worrell pleaded not guilty. Prosectors described him as a member of the far-right Proud Boys group

“Wearing tactical gear and armed with a canister of pepper spray gel marketed as 67 times more powerful than hot sauce, Worrell advanced, shielded himself behind a wooden platform and other protestors, and discharged the gel at the line of officers,” prosecutors wrote in a court filing.

Defense attorney John Pierce previously argued his client wasn't aiming at officers and was only there in the crowd to exercise his free speech rights.

Stay with NBC Washington for more details on this developing story. 

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