Former Allegheny County Jail inmate files lawsuit alleging mistreatment leading to leg amputation

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PITTSBURGH — A former Allegheny County Jail inmate has filed a lawsuit against Allegheny County and some of its jail staff after he alleges a lack of proper treatment caused him to require amputation of a portion of his leg behind bars.

The more than 40-page docket was filed in federal court.

An attorney speaking on Clayton McCray’s behalf says before and after photos of McCray’s leg capture the ongoing negligence inside of the jail.

Jaclyn Kurin with the Abolitionist Law Center says the amputation happened when McCray was 26 years old and had been in the facility for a little more than a year.

Kurin says McCray had previously served time at state correctional institutions in Fayette and Mercer counties.

Both of those locations, she says, provided the necessary care and treatment.

The issues and lack of treatment did not begin until he was housed in the Allegheny County Jail.

“They knew that they weren’t providing this care and even worse, they knew the harm it was going to cause to Mr. McCray,” said Kurin.

Kurin says McCray was being held until his trial, and he came to the jail with a prior condition.

He was shot in the spine in 2011, and as a result, his foot would drag because he had lost feeling in it.

After a few months, an ulcer formed on his heel.

The lawsuit alleges Allegheny County Jail and medical officials didn’t properly treat the wound.

They didn’t give McCray a handicap-accessible cell, took away his orthopedic shoes, cane, wheelchair, and crutches — forcing him to put weight on the bad foot.

“He was in so much pain that he couldn’t retrieve meals, he couldn’t get recreation. He couldn’t shower,” said Kurin.

In addition, the suit alleges officials would change the wound with dirty dressings, and never gave him a full dose of antibiotics to properly treat his infection, resulting in hospitalization and further illness.

Allegheny County Councilperson-at-Large Bethany Hallam was once incarcerated in the Allegheny County Jail.

She’s calling for immediate reform and investigations.

“There is no question in my mind that the only place we go from here is to ask that the Department of Justice, the Attorney General’s Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections step in and investigate. They need to file an independent investigation,” said Hallam.

McCray is seeking damages from Allegheny County and the jail staff.

An Allegheny County spokesperson told Channel 11 that “we don’t comment on lawsuits as a matter of policy.”

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