Alawsuit is moving forward that accuses a Tulsa County jail of callously failing to provide medical care to a paralyzed inmate, the Daily Beast reports.
Elliott Williams’ case dates back to October 2011, when the police arrested him at a Marriott hotel while he was having an apparent mental breakdown. The Army veteran was charged with misdemeanor obstruction.
During the arrest, an officer allegedly pressed a knee into Williams’ back. He complained to jail staff of paralysis, but they believed Williams, 37, was faking his injury.
A video, released in 2013, recorded his final days. It shows Williams lying naked on a blanket inside a jail cell.
According to the Daily Beast, the medical examiner concluded that Williams’ cause of death was “complications of vertebrospinal injuries.” Williams’ family argues that the jail staff acted with “deliberate indifference” to his injuries and bear responsibility for his death.
The Daily Beast put a spotlight on the alleged callousness. The news site reports that an internal sheriff’s office investigation reveals jail staff dragged Williams to a shower and left him there for an hour. He was face down in the shower, screaming for help.
Daniel Smolen, an attorney for Williams’ family, spoke with the Daily Beast:
“This guy went almost six days and never got taken to the hospital with a broken neck. They’re throwing food at him and making fun of him in the cell while he’s going through a horrific death. You wouldn’t do that to an animal or any living thing.”
Smolen added that Williams’ horrific death was “slow” and “torturous,” labeling it the “worst civil rights violation” recorded on video.
The lawsuit named a private healthcare company and then-Sheriff Stanley Glanz as defendants. According to The Daily Beast, Correctional Healthcare Management settled out of court two years ago, but Tulsa County plans to defend itself.
Corbin Brewster, an attorney for Glanz, told The Daily Beast that the jail staff believed they were acting properly: “Despite medical staff’s incorrect diagnoses of Mr. Williams before his death, the undisputed evidence is that the medical professionals who examined and treated Mr. Williams sincerely believed he was faking paralysis.”
Brewster insists that Williams’ lawyers have not offered evidence that the staff knowingly failed to provide full medical care.
SOURCE: Daily Beast | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty