Prisons

Oklahoma Jury Rules in Favor of Army Vet Who Died in Jail Due to Neglect

Tulsa County owes $10.2 million in damages.

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Babawawa / Pixabay

Back in October 2011, Army veteran Elliott Williams died in a Tulsa County, Oklahoma, jail cell after being denied medical care for a broken neck and left to lie on the floor, paralyzed, for days, the Tulsa World has reported.

Today, KRMG reports that a federal jury ruled in favor of Williams' estate and called for Tulsa County to pay $10.2 million in damages and for former Sheriff Stanley Glanze to pay $250,000.

Evidence presented in the case included video surveillance of the last 51 hours of Williams' life, which directly contradicted jail records that claimed he was eating and receiving medical care, per the KRMG report. Instead, the video revealed a horrible reality. Williams lay for days naked and paralyzed on the cell floor, with food occasionally tossed in and water kept just out of his reach. Repeated calls for help were ignored by both the prison guards and the medical personnel.

Williams was initially arrested in Owasso, Oklahoma, on a misdemeanor obstruction complaint, according to the World. Owasso officers responded to reports that he was suffering a mental breakdown, and he was taken into custody after he refused to obey police orders to remain seated. Instead, Williams reportedly approached officers and told them he wanted them to shoot him. He was pepper sprayed and taken to Tulsa County Jail, where he rammed his head into the door of a holding cell and broke his neck.

The state medical examiner ruled that Williams died of "complications of vertebrospinal injuries due to blunt force trauma" and was suffering from dehydration, per the World report.

"We believe that this prolonged and reckless neglect, in the way that they treated Elliot Williams in the Tulsa County jail, really constitutes one of the worst civil rights violations in U.S. history," Williams' estate lawyer, Dan Smolen, told KRMG.

Defense attorney Guy Fortney indicated to the World that he will be meeting with the current sheriff to discuss future plans, including potentially appealing the decision.

Williams' family meanwhile said the ruling, while satisfying, isn't enough. "No amount of money is going to bring him back," Williams' brother Kevin Williams told the World. "People need to be going to jail. There needs to be criminal charges filed."

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  1. The voters of Tulsa County will think twice before electing that sheriff again! And then they’ll elect that sheriff again.

    1. pretty much or the next guy will be the exact same. I am shocked the sheriff is even on the hook for 250K. Thats shocking.

  2. Marooned for all eternity in the center of a dead prison cell.

  3. “Evidence presented in the case included video surveillance of the last 51 hours of Williams’ life, which directly contradicted jail records that claimed he was eating and receiving medical care…”

    Start with the perjurers and work Them way back cause Us is worn out from Them bearing false witness. Woodchippers should be serviced and ready for OT.

    1. Vote Woodchipper!

    2. Bless you!

  4. so…. this idiot essentially committed suicide and taxpayers now have to pay the family over $10 million for his stupidity. Yeah, that makes total sense.

    1. Of course, they’re paying for his stupidity AND the criminal negligence of jail personnel.

  5. After I read the alt text, a single tear of joy slowly emerged from my good eye, followed by another tear, and another tear, until I was weeping for the atrocities committed under the protection of that tattered symbol of freedom.

  6. Officer 1: What’s that guys problem?
    Officer 2: Complications of vertebrospinal injuries due to blunt force trauma.
    [pause]
    Officer 1: That’s it?
    Officer 2: And he’s dehydrated.
    [pause]
    Officer 1: Maybe we should get him some water?
    Officer 2: Already did. He’s not drinking it.
    [pause]
    Officer 1: You going to the game Saturday?
    Officer 2: Couldn’t get tickets.

  7. One is tempted to blame stuff like this on the fact that the prison staff are all fucking psychopaths. I know for a fact that in some jurisdictions they actually screen for psychopaths on their psych evals.

    But dealing with innumerable drunks and scum all day every day would certainly wear on one’s patience. Apart from the handpicked psychos, we should reserve a little empathy for the guards and consider them victims of a bad system.

    I’m with the libertarians on this. We need a lot fewer reasons to lock people up.

    1. Fuck no! I lived with fuckers in a shitty barracks that threaten to stab me with their k-bars while i sleep. Legit bi-polar psychos. People got ripped out of bed in the middle of the night and beaten. I have dealt with the worst of the worst people. Even then, I still would not let someone even one of those fucks that strangled me or put a knife in my face or put me into a coma suffer a horrible death because i have principles.

      I have no fucking empathy for this pieces of shit. You are paid to do this job and if you can’t handle it than don’t do it. I will not give a fucking pass for this fuckers.

  8. how is not every fucker that was present not facing criminal charges? Every employee that saw this happen needs to be charged with a crime. Reasonable person statues do not protect you from situations like this especially if you work at the prison. Every employee that saw this happen is culpable. The direct perpetrators need to face death penalty charges for murder, torture, and numerous other things.

    And yet people just love the government and making every fucking thing a god damn crime!

    1. except for government agents….obviously. FUCK

  9. He’s moving.

    STOP RESISTING!

    He’s not moving.

    STOP FAKING!

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