The family of an inmate who died during the Mother’s Day 2015 riot at Nebraska’s Tecumseh State Prison has filed a lawsuit accusing the state of failing to protect him and adequately staff the facility, reports the Omaha World-Herald. Shon Collins, 46, was one of two inmates found dead after inmates took control of two housing units at the prison for several hours, setting fires and ransacking cells. The lawsuit, filed in Lancaster County District Court, says the state failed to keep Collins apart from other inmates.
Collins, a sex offender, was in protective custody, separated from other inmates, at the time of the riot because he previously had been threatened and assaulted by other inmates, the lawsuit says. Yet on the day of the riot inmates from three housing units, including those in general population and those in protective custody, were all released from their cells to a prison yard to obtain medications. When the riot broke out, corrections officers quickly were overwhelmed and fled to a prison guard tower, leaving Collins unprotected, the suit says. Collins was serving 66 to 80 years for first-degree sexual assault of a child. The other inmate found dead, Donald Peacock, was also a sex offender. The Collins lawsuit is the first filed in connection with five deaths at the Tecumseh prison over the past two years.