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Horry County jail inmate claims sheriff refuses to provide, let him wear face mask

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Legal

Theodore Bolick has been in jail since May 28 on failure-to-appear charges. The J. Reuben Long Detention Center detainee claims Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson and jail administrators are refusing to provide him with face masks and will not allow him to wear his personal mask, according to a lawsuit filed in Horry County. File

A J. Reuben Long Detention Center detainee claims Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson and jail administrators are refusing to provide him with face masks and will not allow him to wear his personal mask, according to a lawsuit filed in Horry County.

Theodore Bolick filed the lawsuit against Thompson and other jail administrators claiming his 14th Amendment rights under the Constitution are being violated.

In a handwritten letter to the court, Bolick claims that Thompson and other members of his staff “through their deliberate indifference to the health and safety of the prisoners in the H.C.D.C. refuse to provide and issue masks to the prisoner under their authority.”

Bolick also made claims that the staff refuses to allow him to use a mask that “he has in his personal property” and have refused him the “ability to protect himself against the COVID-19 virus.”

Bolick is asking for a jury trial, a court order mandating that all prisoners be issued masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and compensatory and punitive damages each in excess of $10,000.

He has been in jail since May 28 on charges for failure to appear and the lawsuit is not the first time claims of "unjust" treatment have been made.

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Bolick has a pending writ of habeas corpus against Sheriff Thompson and other members of his staff that was also handwritten on May 30. This is defined as a writ ordering a person in custody to be brought before a court. It places the burden of proof on those detaining the person to justify the detention.  

Neither the sheriff nor the jail had responded for comment as of noon on Aug. 12.

In that, he claims that when he was transported on a warrant from Randolph County in North Carolina on May 28, he was not “afforded the opportunity to petition for the great writ in violation of his due process rights.”

He also claims when he was booked at J. Reuben Long, his legal documents in a different case were seized along with his law book, paper, envelopes, stamps and writing instruments.

Bolick said, “The petitioner is in the process of working on a time-sensitive appeal in that case of which time limits are about to expire, and jail officials are interfering with any denying petitioner access to the courts in violation of petitioner’s First Amendment rights.”

Follow Richard Caines on Twitter at @rickcaines

Richard Caines covers Courts in Horry and Georgetown County for The Post and Courier. He graduated from the Cronkite School at Arizona State University and is a huge Philadelphia sports fan.

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