Negligent Hazing of County Prisoner Results in Wrongful Death
Atlanta, GA (Law Firm Newswire) December 10, 2012 - Wrongful death may even come calling in a jail cell. This mentally ill inmate died after being attacked.
“Wrongful death may result from a car accident, a collision with a truck or other vehicle, or it may come about as a result of an accident with falling scaffolding or playground equipment. It may also pay a visit in a jail cell, as it did in this case, involving a prisoner who was allegedly beaten and shot with a stun gun. He was known to be mentally ill, and his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit,” explained Stephen Ozcomert, an Atlanta injury lawyer, who practices personal injury, accidents and malpractice law in Georgia.
The statement of claim indicated that the attacks on the mentally unbalanced man were unprovoked, and just another example of the kind of behavior that went on in that jail. “The local Sheriff was known to have a quite radical approach to dealing with inmates at the best of times,” added Ozcomert. The death of this inmate, and the lawsuit filed by his family, were added to the long line of other claims against the jail relating to existing conditions, and how the prisoners were treated.
According to existing records, the 44-year-old inmate got into a scuffle with police and jail guards, as he was being booked for an assault charge. A mere 15 minutes later, he was found to be unresponsive in his cell, and died five days later. His family made the decision to remove him from life support. They are seeking $20 million in their notice of claim, requesting a jury trial and unspecified general and punitive damages.
“What precisely happened during the booking process to cause a man to become unresponsive within 15 minutes is the focal point of this case. His family suggests he was made the butt of jailhouse jokes to get him to make a face for the mug shot of the week. Minutes later he refused to take off one of his shoes, prompting two officers to attack him, while other jailers joined in. He was apparently also shot numerous times with a Taser,” Ozcomert outlined. This inmate was mentally ill, not on drugs and not in any position to be combative with a whole host of police and jailers.
The medical examiner’s report indicated the man died of complications from a heart attack, but the manner of death was listed as being undetermined. “Meaning, he could not determine if the Taser shots caused the heart attack in the first place,” added Ozcomert.
“Tough case,” said Ozcomert. If the statement of facts as submitted in the wrongful death lawsuit turn out to be proven in court, this case will likely be won by the plaintiff. “Any time a mentally ill individual is allegedly attacked and Tasered by police, it is cause for concern on many levels,” he suggested.
Stephen M. Ozcomert, PC
215 North McDonough Street
Decatur, GA 30030
Call: (404) 370-1000
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