A paraplegic inmate in St. Louis, Missouri, is suing the city after he was allegedly forced to go more than five months without bathing.
The complaint states 39-year-old Anthony Tillman arrived at the St. Louis City Justice Center on Oct. 5, and has been denied a shower because the facility is not equipped to accommodate wheelchair-users. Upon his arrival, Tillman reportedly informed a jail nurse that he would need a shower that was wheelchair accessible or would require staff assistance when showering. Both requests were allegedly denied. A week later, Tillman was given a basin and a rag to bathe himself inside his cell.
The lawsuit was filed by ArchCity, St. Louis University School of Law legal clinics, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, and the Rights Behind Bars organization. The legal team argues the facility’s refusal to accommodate their client is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. According to the complaint, Tillman has used a wheelchair since 2017, after he was wounded in the back during a shooting. He is currently serving time for an unrelated case in which he is accused of firing at a vehicle with a child inside.
“I just want to be treated fair, like how everyone else is supposed to be treated. I am disabled and I want to be accommodated,” Tillman said in a statement issued by ArchCity Defenders. “I’m speaking out and telling my story because if someone else who is paraplegic finds themself in the same situation, they should not have to experience what I’ve experienced.”
The lawsuit also names Adrian Barnes, superintendent of the City Justice Center; and Dale Glass, commissioner of the St. Louis Division of Corrections, as defendants.