Milwaukee prosecutors charge jail staff in inmate's dehydration death

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Prosecutors charged three Milwaukee County jail staffers on Monday for their role in the dehydration death of Thomas. The accused are Commander Nancy Evans, 48, Supervisor Kashka Meadors, 40 and Deputy James Ramsey-Guy, 38. Thomas died from dehydration. He has, however, complained publicly that the media fails to sufficiently highlight Thomas' poor physical health and the charges that landed him in jail, neither of which contributed to his death, according to the medical examiner's report. Three have now been formally charged.

The charges were announced by the Milwaukee District Attorney's Office.

Terrill Thomas, a 38-year-old who had bipolar disorder, died on April 24, 2016, after he was held in solitary confinement for seven days without water, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Chisholm said Ramsey-Guy also had an obligation to notify other people that had taken place.

Evans faces charges of obstructing and officer and misconduct in office.

A criminal complaint says that Evans knew about critical video surveillance but lied about her knowledge to investigators in order to protect her job. If convicted, each face more than three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.

Police detectives asked Evans in a questionnaire during their investigation whether there was any documentation showing whether the water was turned off the whole time or intermittently.

The document Ms Evans signed off on answered that "there is no documentation indicating this".

Thomas was arrested on April 15, 2016 and then charged with reckless endangerment and firearms violations after he fired shots in a local casino, court documents said.

3 Milwaukee jail officials charged after inmate dies from dehydration
Three Milwaukee jail officials charged after inmate dies from dehydration

Lieutenant Kashka Meadors ordered that Thomas' water access be turned off until he behaved, which violated a Milwaukee County Sheriff's regulation that inmates have continuous access to water. One of the cases happened a week after Thomas' death.

When Mr Thomas died the jail was overseen by conservative firebrand Sheriff David Clarke, who resigned in August to join a political action committee in support of President Donald Trump.

While Meadors and Ramsey-Guy are being charged for neglect in relation to Thomas' death, Evans is accused of interfering with the investigation for allegedly destroying video surveillance taken during the week Thomas was deprived of water by allowing it to be recorded over.

The trio were also suspended with pay Monday and Acting Sheriff Richard Schmidt said discipline would be handed down Friday, Feb. 16. Family members believe he was having a mental breakdown at the time of his arrest. "If this turns out to be exactly the way they've been written, it's horrific", he said.

All three appeared in court Monday and remain free on bond.

The charges announced Monday come nearly a year after jurors recommended jail staff should be liable after prosecutors presented them with evidence.

Chisholm says his office is still investigating the medical care Thomas received while in custody, through a third party company the county contracts with called Armor Correctional.

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