The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Colorado has filed a lawsuit against El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder for how he handled the spread of COVID-19 in his jail. “While publicly on Facebook Sheriff Elder was imploring citizens to ‘wear a mask,’ privately he and his staff prohibited people from wearing masks in their housing units,” said Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director.
According to the lawsuit, Sheriff Elder failed to provide masks despite receiving $15.6 million in federal funding under the CARES Act for the specific purpose of Covid-19 protections. A pregnant inmate being held for a non-violent offense wrote, “I was sleeping within a few feet of Covid-19 positive inmates,” despite having tested negative and being high-risk due to her pregnancy and asthma. The prison houses about 1,250 inmates and has reported over 1,000 positive cases.
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