A settlement of $250,000 has been paid to the mother of an inmate who died at the Jasper County Jail in Missouri. According to Tribune Content Agency, the inmate died after being strapped in a restraint chair for 21 hours. His mother filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Springfield alleging that he was left without proper food, water or medication. The settlement was reached in September.
Tribune Content Agency reports that the man, 43, was arrested in December 2012 for allegedly violating a protection order obtained against him by his stepfather. His autopsy report shows that he was an alcoholic with a history of high blood pressure and psychiatric issues. These issues should do not justify his death, his mother said. She told Tribune Content Agency that the jail was informed of her son’s high blood pressure, back pain, anxiety and alcohol abuse.
Two days before he died, he was injured when his head struck a Plexiglass window in a holding cell. A jail doctor examined the wound, and determined that he suffered no significant injury.
Sheriff Randy Kaiser, whose term had not yet started when the death occurred, said that the man’s behavior was consistent with alcohol withdrawal; it was his understanding that the he was placed in the cell for observation reasons.
According to the autopsy report, the man was later placed in the restraint chair for 21 hours, in which he was “constantly thrashing” and “throwing himself against the restraints” until he eventually “seemed to relax and died”. His death was attributed to “cardiac arrhythmia secondary to myocardial hypoxia” due to “strenous exercise” or “agitation induced by alcohol withdrawal.”
His mother said it is wrong for the sheriff to claim that her son was being violent. She has seen footage of her son in the chair, and said “At no time was he combative,” according to Tribune Content Agency. “He was going through withdrawal and seizures.”
Her lawsuit alleged that he was restrained in the chair without being given proper food, water or medication and contrary to the manufacturer’s warning that no one should be left in the chair for more than two hours. She also alleges that the jail’s nurse and doctor did not check on him frequently enough and failed to act on a substantial drop in his blood pressure.