A man who claims he was beaten and denied medical treatment during a two-day stay at the Bi-State jail is suing the private company that manages it in a Texarkana, Texas, federal court.
William Scott Jones, 41, was arrested by Texarkana, Texas, police July 17, 2018, for “standing in the roadway,” a Class C misdemeanor. Jones alleges he was in good physical condition when police handed him over to booking personnel at the Bi-State jail but was permanently injured and near death upon his release nearly two days later.
Texarkana attorney David Carter filed the complaint Thursday on Jones’ behalf in the Texarkana Division of the Eastern District of Texas.
The suit names LaSalle Corrections and a number of related companies and administrators as defendants. Also named are Bowie County, the City of Texarkana, Texas, a LaSalle nursing supervisor and two licensed vocational nurses working for LaSalle in the jail when Jones was there in 2018.
“This action seeks to hold defendants liable for plaintiff’s injuries, which were caused by defendants’ disturbing and ongoing pattern and practice of violating citizens’ constitutional rights in order for the LaSalle defendants to turn a profit,” the complaint states.
Jones was arrested at about 9:30 p.m. July 17, 2018. Shortly after midnight July 18, 2018, Jones was allegedly placed in a segregation unit in a single-man cell. According to the complaint, jail staff are required by law to check on inmates being housed alone every 30 minutes. The complaint alleges staff failed to conduct those checks as required.
According to the complaint, LaSalle’s records concerning Jones indicate staff attempted to conduct checks at 4:54 a.m. and 7 a.m. the morning of July 18, 2018.
“During that two-hour period, correctional officers made entries that plaintiff was ‘absent-not assigned.’ Thus, LaSalle’s records indicate the correctional staff ‘lost’ plaintiff for approximately two hours on the morning of July 18, 2018. Only LaSalle correctional staff had the capability to remove plaintiff from his K-pod cell and move him to any other location in the jail,” the complaint states.
The suit alleges Jones was severely beaten during the time he was missing and suffered blunt force injuries including facial fractures, a fractured nose, fractured ribs and a serious injury to his colon,” the complaint states.
Jones was allegedly moved into a medical observation cell at 7 a.m. July 18, 2018.
“No progress notes or other medical records were generated by LaSalle medical staff concerning plaintiff’s condition during the five hour and 13 minute period of time,” the complaint states. “Additionally, there is no evidence that plaintiff, despite having been severely beaten at the jail, received any medical assistance or medical treatment while housed in medical observation.”
Jones was moved from medical to another single-man cell at approximately 12:25 p.m. July 18, 2018. During that time, Jones was allegedly checked by Licensed Vocational Nurse Joni Slimak-McFaul but received no treatment.
For the next 12 hours, staff repeatedly observed Jones lying naked on the floor of his cell. At 6 a.m. July 19, 2018, Licensed Vocational Nurse Markesha Jones allegedly checked on William Jones but failed to address his dire condition. William Jones allegedly reported he had high blood pressure and diabetes but his pressure and blood sugar were never checked, according to the complaint.
On the morning of July 19, 2018, William Jones’ sister, Melody Jones Dunn, contacted the jail and was told her brother would be released that day. Jail staff allegedly informed Dunn that William Jones was having difficulty communicating. Nursing notes completed by Markesha Jones allegedly state that William Jones complained of pain in his ribs but had no bruising or swelling and that his right eye was “swollen and black.”
William Jones’ sister was so concerned about her brother after speaking to jail staff that she called an ambulance to meet him at the front entrance of the Bi-State.
“Plaintiff was barely able to speak and was begging for water and moaning in pain,” the complaint states.
Jones allegedly spent the next month in Wadley Hospital receiving treatment for acute renal failure, severe dehydration, ischemic colitis caused by blunt force trauma, multiple facial fractures, multiple rib fractures, muscle loss resulting from delay in treatment, sepsis, pneumonia, blood clots and dangerously high potassium. Jones underwent surgery to repair his colon and must now wear an colostomy bag.
Carter describes LaSalle’s track record at the Bi-State and at other jails it runs in Texas as “disturbing.”
The complaint points to the 2015 death of Michael Sabbie in the Bi-State and the 2016 death of Morgan Angerbauer.
Sabbie had repeatedly complained of difficulty breathing before a correctional officer threw him to the ground and at least four other officers piled on top of him as he said, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.” He was pepper sprayed and then thrown into his one-man cell in contaminated clothing. He was found dead the following morning.
Angerbauer can be seen in jail surveillance video repeatedly banging on the door of her cell in medical observation in the jail in July 2016. The severely diabetic 20-year-old died of ketoacidosis after being denied treatment. Former Licensed Vocational Nurse Brittany Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor negligent homicide.
“LaSalle correctional staff falsified jail records in both cases stating that required 30-minute, face-to-face checks had been done when in fact that had not,” the complaint states.
The complaint points to deaths at LaSalle managed jails in McLennan County and Parker County. LaSalle staff allegedly failed to conduct required checks and falsified records. Staff at Parker County jail allegedly reported to Texas Commission on Law Enforcement that they did not receive required training and that documents reflecting that they had were falsified at LaSalle’s direction, according to the complaint.
The complaint alleges that LaSalle denies there is any surveillance video available for the time period when William Jones was incarcerated.
“According to LaSalle, there is no available footage and LaSalle has no knowledge of plaintiff’s beating or any other ‘incident’ involving plaintiff,” the complaint states. “This makes no sense as plaintiff could not be moved within the jail or exposed to other detainees unless LaSalle correctional staff effectuated and supervised the move.”
Jones is seeking compensate for his medical expenses, pain and suffering, mental anguish, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement and future care-taking expenses. The complaint requests punitive damages, attorney fees and court costs as well.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III.