Inmate wants $1.3 million for handcuff injury

Yakima - A state inmate wants Yakima County to pay him for damage to his hand that he says was caused by tight handcuffs during his 2007 drug arrest.

Jose D. Olvera, 61, of Granger has filed a claim with the county seeking $1.3 million in damages, contending the handcuffs he wore for eight hours at the time of his arrest cut off circulation. The claim says he suffered permanent injury and had to undergo surgery.

The administrative claim seeks payment for pain and suffering, future medical bills, negligence and punitive damages.Submitting an administrative claim is a necessary step before filing a lawsuit against the county.

Olvera was arrested on charges of possession of heroin with intent to deliver on Oct. 23, 2007, at his Granger home by sheriff’s deputies.

Drug task force agents obtained a search warrant and searched the Olvera residence that afternoon, finding evidence of drug paraphernalia and a half-ounce of heroin packaged for delivery.

The claim says sheriff’s deputies repeatedly ignored Olvera’s requests to loosen the handcuffs or use other types of restraints because Olvera had thick wrists and was in pain.

The cuffs weren’t removed until 8 p.m. that night at the county jail, the claim says.

Court records show Olvera entered an Alford plea in August 2009 to the charge of possession with intent to deliver. Under an Alford plea, a defendant doesn’t admit guilt but concedes evidence is sufficient to find him guilty.

He was sentenced to five years in prison. He is serving his sentence at the state’s Coyote Ridge Corrections Center in Connell.