NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has joined another law firm in filing a lawsuit against the Central New Mexico Correctional Facility in Los Lunas for the attack of an inmate. The lawsuit claims two guards forced inmates to beat up Nickolas Milligan.
“I find it very troubling that employees of the corrections department would stand by and watch an individual get attacked by several individuals for a significant amount of time,” says ACLU Senior Policy Strategist Barron Jones.
The ACLU released surveillance video they say proves their client was brutally attacked on August 10 of 2022. The video from the state prison in Los Lunas was sent to the ACLU anonymously and shows inmate Nickolas Milligan getting beaten as two guards do nothing.
The lawsuit says guards Cameron Watson and Jesse Diaz threatened Milligan with physical violence after he refused to grind paint without respiratory and eye protection. The lawsuit claims the officers then coerced three other prisoners to punish Milligan or face consequences.
In October, ACLU went before the Courts, Corrections, and Justice Interim Committee asking for more prison oversight. “You want to have somebody who has fresh eyes an open mind who is not in any way burdened by some connection to the system of which they’re overseeing,” says Civil Rights lawyer Matthew Coyte. Democratic lawmakers like Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Senator Patricia Roybal Caballero were in favor of more oversight.
The lawsuit also claims the two officers falsified documentation regarding Milligan’s medical treatment saying no one was injured during the assault. It also says Diaz filed a report indicating there was no video of the incident.
KRQE reached out to the New Mexico Corrections Department who said they cannot comment on pending litigation.