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District Judge Reverses Course In Kenyan Jail Suit

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Vratil reversed her previous ruling barring Kenyan native Justine Mochama from a civil trial for a 2014 altercation at Butler County Jail.

Mochama claimed he was violently attacked at the Butler County Jail for refusing to be fingerprinted before deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents at the jail.

Previously the federal judge ruled that Mochama, who was in the U.S. on an expired student visa, had grounds for a civil trial in January against ICE for his treatment during the altercation. Video from the jail showed Mochama being lifted into the air and hit in the stomach before being pinned to the ground. After the incident he was taken to the ICE office in Wichita where another altercation ensued. Eventually Mochama was returned to the Butler County Jail for housing, pending deportation while his trial ensued. There was an agreement between Mochama and the government to not deport him until the legal process of his suit had ran its course. Now that the trial has been thrown out, he will be deported.

The lawsuit contended that Mochama suffered from headaches and nightmares from the attack and that the jail nursing staff did not screen him for a concussion following the altercation.

Judge Vratil cited a Supreme Court ruling that stated proof was needed “beyond debate” that actions by ICE and jail officials were unconstitutional. Without that proof provided in written arguments from both parties involved, ICE agents Timothy Zwetow and Rodney Nichols were granted immunity from prosecution for the incident.



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