A federal lawsuit filed in Alabama this week accused two former Dale County Jail employees of using a Burmese python to antagonize an inmate who was afraid of snakes.
Trawick Redding Jr., who has now been released from the Dale County Jail, claims that two correctional officers brought a 6- or 7-foot snake into the kitchen where he worked. According to Redding's lawyer, he had informed jail personnel of his fear of snakes years ago, well before the incident occurred in 2013.
"This is not a case of a yellow garden snake found outside the jail that got in," said Martin Weinberg, Redding's attorney. "Our belief is that this was a thought out plan by some of the guards to torture, control and harass the inmates, specifically my client, Mr. Redding."
Later, Redding returned to his bunk to sleep and allegedly woke up to one of the officers holding the python inches from his face. Redding claims that since then, he has suffered from PTSD and night terrors.
"He was in there on a non-violent offense," said Weinberg. "He was a trustee in the jail, and he was in good standing or a model prisoner. He's been released, and he's trying to get his life back together."
Dale County's sheriff, Wally Olson, spoke to news station WSFA and confirmed that he remembered the incident, and had fired both officers on the day it occurred, half an hour after he was informed of the prank. Olson told WSFA he had not seen the lawsuit yet, which includes him as a defendant, and declined to comment.