- Christopher Worrell, a Capitol riot defendant, has been in jail with a broken wrist for four months.
- A federal judge said jail officials violated his civil rights by denying him appropriate medical care.
- The judge referred the case to the DOJ for a civil rights investigation.
A federal judge Wednesday held two Washington, DC, jail officials in civil contempt of court after ruling that they had violated a Capitol riot defendant’s civil rights by denying him access to medical care.
In a hearing about medical delays for Christopher Worrell, a Proud Boys members and riot suspect, US District Judge Royce Lamberth said that DC Department of Corrections officials failed to hand over critical documents that were needed to approve surgery for Worrell’s wrist, which he broke in May while in custody.
“It’s clear to me the civil rights of the defendant were violated by the DC Department of Corrections,” Lamberth said, according to the Fort Myers News-Press. “I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6 defendant or not.”
He added: “It’s more than just the inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers. Does no one care? Does no one follow up?” The Daily Beast reported.
Worrell, who was detained shortly after his March 12 arrest in Florida, is accused of pepper-spraying Capitol Police officers during the insurrection and engaging in violence and disorderly conduct, among other charges.
In the Wednesday hearing, Lamberth also issued a show-cause order and said he was referring the matter to the Department of Justice to investigate whether Worrell’s civil rights were violated, the Fort Myers News-Press reported.
Lamberth did not, however, impose any sanctions or penalties on the two jail officials in question, Warden Wanda Patten and DC Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth.
Worrell’s attorney, Alex Stavrou, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. Stavrou told The Daily Beast that he and his clients were “pleased” with the judge’s Wednesday ruling, and “pray” that the investigation would be done quickly.
The surgery has not been performed yet, Fort Myers News-Press reported.
Worrell, 50, was placed in custody in March after another judge said that the evidence against him, including his level of preparation and history of intimidating and threatening behavior, met the government criteria for denying bond, Naples News reported.
In June, Worrell – who also has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma – applied twice to be freed on medical grounds after saying his condition was “rapidly deteriorating” in jail. However, his attempts were rejected by two separate judges, one of whom was Lamberth.
In the court documents, Worrell did not mention his broken wrist at the time and referred only to his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
The FBI tracked down Worrell at his home in Naples, Florida, in March after someone close to his girlfriend tipped off the bureau, saying they had identified him in pictures from the riot.
He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.