Anthony Tillman, 39, has not been able to bathe properly since arriving at the St. Louis City Justice Center on Oct. 5, according to a lawsuit filed on his behalf

By Gabrielle Chung
March 10, 2021 05:38 PM
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anthony tillman
Anthony Tillman
| Credit: City of St. Louis Division of Corrections

An inmate with paraplegia at a St. Louis jail has not been able to clean himself fully for more than five months due to a lack of wheelchair accessible showers at the center, according to a new lawsuit filed on his behalf by several advocacy groups.

Anthony Tillman, 39, has not been able to bathe properly since arriving at the St. Louis City Justice Center on Oct. 5 because the showers there "require detainees to take a step in order to get into the shower and are equipped with neither bars nor rails," the lawsuit states.

Tillman was given a wash basin and rag instead, but he's been "unable to reach many spots of his body" because of physical limitations, "placing him at grave risk of infection" after he sustained injuries from falling in the jail shower during a prior stint at the facility, according to court documents.

St. Louis City Justice Center
St. Louis City Justice Center
| Credit: google maps

The suit says Tillman — who has a bullet lodged in his back from a 2017 shooting — asked a nurse at the jail if someone could assist him in the shower in January, but was denied the request and allegedly told, "This is not a long-term care facility! Talk to your attorney."

Tillman says he was also denied by multiple correction officers when he tried to submit his own grievance form, the lawsuit says.

According to the lawsuit, the city of St. Louis is violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 by not providing wheelchair accessible showers at the jail.

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City spokesperson Jacob Long declined to comment when reached by PEOPLE.

"I just want to be treated fair, like how everyone else is supposed to be treated. I am disabled and I want to be accommodated," Tillman said in a statement issued by ArchCity Defenders, one of the advocacy groups behind the lawsuit. "I'm speaking out and telling my story because if someone else who is paraplegic finds themself in the same situation, they should not have to experience what I've experienced."