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Iowa inmate sues county sheriff after fall from roof

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Tanner King (photo from WHO-TV)

A Fort Dodge inmate who jumped off the roof of the Webster County Jail in August is now suing the county and the Sheriff. 

Twenty-one-year-old Tanner King suffered a broken back, a broken pelvis, and internal injuries in the fall in August 2012.  Deputies said King was playing basketball in an enclosed rooftop gym when he went through an unlocked door, ran across the roof and jumped off, falling about 40 feet to the black-top below.

King had allegedly attempted suicide a few days before the fall. 

His lawsuit claims the sheriff’s department should have done more to protect King, even from himself. 

“They had knowledge that he attempted suicide,” said trial attorney Mark Pennington, “They knew that. There’s no dispute about that.  Having had that knowledge, they escorted him to a fifth floor facility on the roof and allowed him to either jump off or fall off.”

King, who is hospitalized in Des Moines, says his injuries will last a lifetime.

“They`re saying I’ll be in pain the rest of my life. And it`s going to take me over a year to get back into walking and the way I was, just injury-wise and my spine,” King said.

The Webster County Sheriff’s Department won’t comment on the lawsuit, but says its initial investigation shows King fell while trying to escape.  He is facing several charges including burglary, stalking, domestic assault, and criminal mischief.

(thanks to our sister station WHO-TV for this report)