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Whistleblower files lawsuit against Lynn County Sheriff’s Office after being attacked by inmates

LYNN COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) – A man who acted as an informant against a methamphetamine dealer in Independence is suing agents of the Lynn County Sheriff’s Office and the US Marshal’s Office for willful indifference that left him at significant risk of harm.

According to the lawsuit, US marshals executed a warrant to testify against Ethan Palmer at his home and took him into custody. He was taken to the Lynn County Correctional Center (LCCC) for detention pending testimony at Justin Buehler’s trial.

The lawsuit alleges that Buehler had previously told inmates Johnny Blahnik Church and Gregory Sills that Palmer would likely be placed in the LCCC and provided them with his name and description. Church allegedly assured Buchelr that he would “take care of it”.

Palmer reportedly pleaded with some or all of the Lynn County defendants to place him in solitary confinement, but his pleas were ignored, and after initially being placed in solitary confinement, he was transferred to the general confinement cell. The lawsuit alleges that Palmer told a prison officer that he was in danger, bluntly stating, “They’re going to kill me.” The lawsuit says the worker responded, “You’ll be fine,” and placed Palmer back in the communal pod, which also included Church and Sills.

The video filed in the lawsuit shows Palmer being attacked by Church and Sills for approximately two minutes. The attack was under real-time video surveillance, but none of the staff came to Palmer’s aid during the attack.

The lawsuit says that after Palmer regained consciousness from the attack, he alerted staff with an emergency call button. In the video, about two more minutes can be seen before staff help Palmer and take him to Mercy Hospital and University of Iowa Hospital for treatment. He was being treated for “extensive bodily injuries, including trauma to the face, a fractured orbit, a broken nose and teeth, and a broken knee.”

Palmer continued to testify as a key witness at Buehler’s trial. He said he has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression and continues to have physical and mental health complications from the attack.

In response, Palmer filed suit against Lynn County Sheriff Brian Gardner, Lynn County Jail Administrator Pete Wilson, other unnamed agents in the Lynn County Sheriff’s Office, Patrick Reinert, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Iowa, and unnamed agents. US marshals. He accuses the Lynn County defendants of deliberate indifference that harmed Palmer.

Lynn County Sheriff Brian Gardner says Lynn County officials “did not receive any classified information, no contact instructions, or other information regarding Palmer from US Marshals.”

You can watch the video of the assault below. TV9 would like to warn viewers that some people may find this video disturbing and advise caution.

Surveillance video of Johnny Church and Gregory Sills attacking Ethan Palmer.

There is a photo of the consequences of the assault.

Again, TV9 would like to warn viewers that the photo is highly graphic:

Ethan Palmer (KCRG)

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