HANCOCK COUNTY – A county inmate assigned to Community Corrections Home Detention, Ja’Michael Bryant, 21, Indianapolis filed a federal lawsuit Friday against several county employees and officials. The federal lawsuit is against the Hancock County Board of Commissioners and three Hancock County Community Corrections officers based on a voicemail alleging racial discrimination and the violation of Bryant’s civil rights.
Bryant, who is several months into serving home detention for dealing marijuana from an incident in 2022 has accused the HCCC officials of violating his rights over the course of several months. According to the lawsuit, a HCCC field officer called Bryant who did not answer the phone. However, the phone did not disconnect and recorded a conversation about Bryant by three different HCCC officers.
According to court documents, in the three-minute recording, the three HCCC workers are heard talking to each other about Bryant. The officers refer to Bryant as a “lazy motherf**ker,” a “b**ch,” a “little thuggy.”
The voicemail also references Bryant moving out of “the hood” and talks about his current home as “nice.”
The three employees named in the lawsuit are Daniel Devoy, HCCC field officer; Tom Smith, HCCC field officer and Nicole Raffaelli, HCCC detention coordinator.
According to court documents, Bryant, who is black, was convicted of dealing marijuana and sentenced to a year and a half through the Hancock County Community Corrections Home Detention in November, 2022.
The lawsuit states, Bryant resides with his mother, who owns and operates a successful business. Bryant along with his mother were able to move into a larger and much nicer home on Indianapolis’s far east side. Bryant was required to make arrangements through Community Corrections for approval of the new address.
According to court documents, Bryant contacted Devoy to let him know the day had come to physically move to the new home. Devoy, the lawsuit states, immediately commenced with cursing at Bryant by reminding him Bryant is the “motherf**ker on home detention” and denied Bryant permission to move.
Bryant’s mother heard the inappropriate language from Devoy, and Bryant’s mother contacted a Community Corrections supervisor to complain. Bryant was then allowed to move to a new address, the documents state. However, Devoy’s behavior and attitude toward Bryant was only the beginning of relentless campaign of harassment against Bryant and his family, the court documents state.
Devoy, the lawsuit states, was rude and disrespectful toward Bryant and sometimes cursed during their communications between December 2022 and March 2023.
During a phone call from officials with the HCCC to Bryant in April, Bryant didn’t answer. However, the HCCC officers thought the phone had been disconnected, when it was not, and the phone recorded the conversation of the three HCCC employees talking about Bryant.
The Daily Reporter will have more on this story in an upcoming edition.