‘I get nauseous’: Murder suspect sues over GenX-tainted water at county jail
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - A murder suspect held within the walls of the New Hanover County Detention Facility has filed a federal lawsuit alleging he is "forced" to drink water contaminated with GenX and other chemical compounds.
Damien Gore, who is accused in the Dec. 30, 2015, killing of Rashaun McKoy, filed the suit against Sheriff Ed McMahon and the jail on Monday. He has been jailed at the detention center since Nov. 1, 2016.
"Since I've been here, I've been forced to drink contaminated water due to no other options available to me," Gore wrote in the complaint. "The water here contains the dangerous chemical GenX and other unhealthy chemicals."
In the complaint, Gore, 27, claims he is not being provided "drinkable" water, even after filing grievances with staff, and is not allowed to purchase water from the commissary. He also claims jail staff is provided with bottled water, but that is not the case, according to Lt. Jerry Brewer.
Brewer also said the water supplied at the jail comes from the Castle Hayne Aquifer, which is not contaminated with GenX.
Regardless, Gore acknowledges that there is little known about the compound or its potential health impacts, but claims whenever he drinks the water he gets "massive headaches" and becomes nauseous.
"The water cause (sic) discoloration in my skin and gives me rashes," Gore added.
In addition to around $500,000 compensation for Gore's "health issues," his suit seeks "safe and clean water" for the inmates housed at the detention facility.
"I wouldn't willingly drink chemicals," Gore wrote. "There's no safe amount of chemicals to drink. It has been proven to cause health problems."
Gore declined a request for an interview on the lawsuit. He remains in jail under a $325,000 bond, according to jail records.
New Hanover County Commissioner Skip Watkins responded to the lawsuit by email Tuesday.
"The Sheriff's Office reached out to me for information," Watkins wrote. "The Jail is served by the Castle Hayne Aquifer. That aquifer was tested and no GenX was found."
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