Former gangster sues over Surrey Pretrial Services Centre attack

Abbotsford's Daniel Cunningham claims guards ignored his screams during a five-hour beating by inmates.

A former gang member is suing the B.C. government, claiming he endured a brutal five-hour beating by fellow inmates, just steps away from a guard desk at Surrey Pretrial Services Centre.

A civil suit filed last week by Abbotsford’s Daniel Cunningham alleges he suffered brain damage and multiple broken bones after other prisoners forced him into a cell and kicked, punched and stomped on him.

“The plaintiff had his head forced into the toilet water several times in an attempt to drown him,” the court document reads. “He was forced to lick his own blood off the shoes of his attackers and clean his blood off the floor and walls using his clothes.”

Cunningham, 35, claims he was knocked out at least three times and sometimes pretended to be dead. He said pretrial centre guards failed to respond to his screams or notice he wasn’t in his cell. He said they also didn’t respond when other inmates were egging on the attack, yelling to “knock his teeth out,” “kick him in the face” and “drown him in the toilet.”

He allegedly screamed repeatedly and banged on the closed cell door.

The claim says the cell where the assault took place was about three metres away from the guard control desk. He alleges he was hidden under bags and clothes when guards did their checks, and they didn’t intervene until his cellmate activated an alarm.

The lawsuit says Cunningham was arrested and remanded to Surrey Pretrial Services Centre in April 2015 on drug trafficking charges. He pleaded guilty on June 11 and was sentenced to six months jail, promising in open court to leave gang life.

Because of an outstanding robbery charge, however, he was returned to the Surrey centre. He says he expressed concern about the return and told pretrial staff that “if it became known that he intended to leave the lifestyle, he would be at risk of violence from members or affiliates of the Red Scorpions.” He was returned nonetheless.

Cunningham accuses the guards of negligence and misfeasance for “knowingly permitted the assault.”

He is seeking damages for his injuries and for violations of his Charter rights. He is now in protective custody.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

B.C. Corrections has yet to file a response.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Low-cost bicycle repair shop opens in Cloverdale

Cloverdale Community Cycles starts up in church parking lot

All Safe Surrey Coalition council members must ‘step up’ over ‘bad taste’ tweets, rivals say

Slate’s posts on social media in ‘bad taste,’ councillor says

After 40 years on the job, White Rock’s fire chief retires

From flood to fire, Phil Lemire has been at the forefront whenever disaster struck

Surrey sports groups grapple with refunds, registration, restrictions and more

‘Our biggest problem is going to be retraining the public because they can’t be there’

Cloverdale businessman funds wells in Cambodia

Revive Washing in Clayton Heights donates three per cent of profits to charity

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Help the ‘Cloverdale Reporter’ continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read