LINCOLN — The family of one of the inmates slain in a riot at the Tecumseh State Prison a year ago filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday, claiming that prison staff abandoned their posts and watched on video as he was repeatedly stabbed and killed.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the estate of Michael Galindo, maintains that prison officials knew that the Tecumseh facility had inadequate and insufficiently trained staff to manage "an increasingly volatile inmate population" after an earlier riot — on Mother's Day 2015 — left two inmates dead but had not addressed the deficiencies. Galindo, who was serving 12-24 years for robbery and other charges, was one of two inmates slain in March. He was attacked about 90 minutes after prison staff abandoned a prison housing unit and stabbed 130 times by fellow inmates. It took 3½ hours to bring the March 2 riot under control.
"Michael was horrifically assaulted by multiple inmates, while defendants actually viewed his assault in real time on video surveillance but did not intervene to save him," stated the lawsuit, filed by attorneys Maren Chaloupka of Scottsbluff and Ben Murray of Hebron. An inmate at Tecumseh, Eric L. Ramos, has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with Galindo's death. He is the only person who has been charged in connection with the slayings of four inmates during the two riots at Tecumseh.
State corrections officials have a policy of not commenting on pending lawsuits. But in the immediate aftermath of the incident, State Corrections Director Scott Frakes said staff responded "flawlessly" and had followed protocol in retreating from the affected housing unit.
The Tecumseh prison, located about 60 miles south of Omaha, has been plagued with high staff turnover and an inability to fill security posts, thus forcing mandatory overtime to fill positions.