Sherra Wright files lawsuit against Shelby County Jail, alleging cruel and unusual punishment

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Memphis, Tenn. — We heard plenty about Sherra Wright’s behavior in jail during her court appearances, but now we have a look at what Wright says was happening.

At the end of last year, she filed a lawsuit in federal court against Shelby County Jail East, two sergeants and two correctional officers.

Wright, ex-wife of NBA star Lorenzen Wright and one of the suspects in his murder, pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges related to his death in exchange for a deal giving her a 30-year sentence. 

Wright was housed at Jail East as she was preparing for her trial that never happened. In her handwritten lawsuit, she says between December 2017 and December 2018 she was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment that deprived her of her rights to privacy, decency and dignity.

Wright says when cleaning her cell, she was forced to use a mop contaminated with human feces of an HIV patient. She also says she was strip-searched and left in a broom closet and was constantly told her oldest son had been arrested.

As for the incident of Wright flooding her cell, she includes a statement from another prisoner saying Wright had a mental breakdown after asking for mental health assistance and being yelled at by a guard and told “I hope you die.”

Wright also says the sergeants involved encouraged their officers to verbally harass and abuse her, saying every time she goes to court, she is going in a red shirt. The red shirt was for inmates who have been disruptive.

As for her injuries, Wright states, “I have suffered extreme mental anguish and distress. Currently, I suffer with post-traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, depression and anxiety.”
 
Much of the lawsuit is handwritten, presumably by Wright, so it is not clear if she has an attorney on this case. But she wants the court to award her attorney’s fees, compensatory damages of $2 million and punitive damages of $10 million.

She says she filed a grievance with the jail and was repeatedly told it would be investigated, but she says some grievances were never acknowledged.

We asked the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for an interview about Wright’s claims and the lawsuit. We were told they do not comment on pending litigation.

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