A lawsuit has been filed against the Florida Department of Corrections after a Lowell corrections officer attempted to poison an inmate.
The corrections officer, identified as Qualesha Quayshaun Williams, 28, of Ocala, was arrested on Saturday, January 25, at Lowell Correctional Institution.
The lawsuit was filed on October 15, 2020.
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Williams was putting a “chemical compound, namely bleach” in food and drinks.
In one incident, Michael Green, an FDOC inspector, said that Williams had previously argued with an inmate, identified as Alfreda Gunn, 26, and told her “I got something for you.”
Williams’ statement was overheard by other officers.
The lawsuit states, “The supervisor did nothing to intervene.”
The lawsuit also states that another corrections officer, L. Jamian, witnessed Williams put the bleach in the cup and on the food tray.
Williams was overheard saying, “That one is special.” Referring to the poisoned food tray.
“Jamian did not question Williams as to why she would be poisoning an inmate’s food tray,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit goes on to read, “At the time, Williams was not assigned to supervise or participate in feeding [Gunn’s] quad and had no official purpose in the area. Nonetheless, Jamian continued to watch as Williams positioned the cart carrying the food trays in front of [Gunn’s] cell in a suspicious and non-routine manner and then served the poisoned drink and food to Gunn. Gunn took a sip of the drink before she was able to determine that her tray smelled like bleach.”
Attorneys said that even more frightening is that Williams stood and gazed at the inmate for minutes after she ingested the bleach.
“After realizing she had ingested bleach and Williams would not render aid, Gunn called out to Jamian, telling her what had occurred. In response, Jamian told Gunn, ‘I cannot help unless it’s life or death because of shift change'”, the lawsuit states.
According to court documents, shift change did not occur for another hour.
Jamian never notified a supervisor.
The lawsuit also states that corrections officer Sgt. Lousie knew about the poisoning and, like Jamian, did nothing and did not render aid.
Gunn was not treated until she was transferred to another prison following her complaint that prompted an investigation the same day.
In an email to Ocala Post, the FDOC wrote:
“FDC is moving forward with the immediate dismissal of Correctional Officer Qualesha Quayshaun Williams, who was assigned to Lowell Correctional Institution. Institution leadership, upon receiving the allegation, immediately contacted the FDC Office of Inspector General so a timely and thorough investigation could be performed.
The Florida Department of Corrections takes all allegations of abuse or mistreatment of inmates seriously and encourages all inmates and staff to promptly report inappropriate or illegal conduct. Inmates are afforded every opportunity to report misconduct without fear of retribution.
The OIG is responsible for ensuring all reports of misconduct are thoroughly investigated. Any employee found to have acted inappropriately or illegally faces disciplinary action up to and including dismissal and arrest. FDC has zero-tolerance for staff who act inappropriately and contrary to our core values: respect, integrity, courage, selfless service, and compassion.”
According to reports, Williams did not seem to show any emotion in regards to her attempt to poison an inmate.
Instead, when confronted, Williams was only worried about keeping her job.
Williams was released on a $25,000 bond.
Gunn has demanded a jury trial.