INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis man is suing the Marion County Sheriff's Office, among others, for alleged mistreatment when he was arrested in September 2019 that allegedly led to him being paralyzed.
Attorneys Clay and Jennifer Culotta, with Culotta & Culotta LLP, filed a lawsuit Monday morning on behalf of Travis Shinneman. The attorneys claim Shinneman sustained injuries while being transported to the Marion County Jail, which resulted in paralysis.
Court records show Shinneman was arrested Sept. 8, 2019, for disorderly conduct and public intoxication.
According to Shinneman's attorneys, officers found their client yelling and walking in the street in the 2700 block of Southeastern Avenue on the city's near east side around 2:30 p.m.
Shinneman's attorneys said he was then arrested and that officers cuffed both his hands and ankles.
According to his attorneys, Shinneman was unable to get into the Marion County sheriff transport van while he was cuffed, so the Marion County Sheriff's Office deputy and another officer allegedly threw Shinneman into the van, head first.
Shinneman's attorneys said their client was not secured in the van in any way and still had his hands cuffed behind his back.
When the van arrived at the Marion County Jail 20 minutes later, the deputy allegedly found Shinneman lying face down with his head at the back of the van.
According to Shinneman's attorneys, the deputy said Shinneman "refused to stand up," so they carried him to the door, laid him on the ground and brought him a wheelchair.
Culotta & Culotta shared video from inside the Marion County Jail.
WARNING: The videos below may be difficult to watch. The first video is raw footage of Shinneman at the Marion County Jail. The second video includes text on the screen from Shinneman's attorneys to explain what they believe is happening in the video.
In the video, Shinneman is wheeled into the intake area and appears unable to sit up in the wheelchair.
Deputies then remove the wheelchair and appear to try to get Shinneman to stand up but he falls to the ground.
Shinneman's attorneys point to the nurse, who they said never checked his condition or to see if he was injured, as well as an officer, who allegedly makes a gesture to indicate the jail cannot process Shinneman.
Shinneman is then carried out of the intake area, which his attorney's described "in a hog-tied manner."
At the end of the video, Shinneman's attorneys said, "Travis Shinneman is now a quadriplegic and at age 49 lives in a nursing home requiring around the clock care."
Shinneman's attorneys said their client was taken to Eskenazi Hospital after leaving the intake area, where they diagnosed him as a quadriplegic and performed surgery to fuse his spine.
The lawsuit claims IMPD officers and MCSO deputies were not equipped with body cameras at the time of the incident.
In all, Schinneman is filing a complaint against 21 people or organizations.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office shared the following statement with 13News:
Rule 3.6 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct for Attorneys prohibits extrajudicial statements that may materially prejudice an adjudicative proceeding. Thus, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has a longstanding practice of not commenting on pending litigation. However, the public is reminded that there are two sides to every story, and that ultimately it will be a judge and jury that will likely resolve the litigation. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office believes that no proper public purpose can be served by attempts to litigate the lawsuit in the media. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has no further comment on this matter at this time.
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