Posted on: October 13, 2022, 11:35h.
Last updated on: October 13, 2022, 11:35h.
The former medical services provider to the Milwaukee County Jail has been found criminally liable for the death from dehydration six years ago of inmate Terrill Thomas.
Miami-based Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. was convicted late Tuesday with abuse of residents of a penal facility, a felony, and seven counts of falsifying health records, all misdemeanors.
In April 2016, Thomas rushed into the Potawatomi Casino in Milwaukee screaming at patrons to “get out.” He fired two rounds from a Glock 9mm handgun and stuffed poker chips into his pockets. When police arrived, he threw his gun into a trash can and surrendered.
Thomas had bipolar disorder and his family believed his behavior had been the result of a psychotic episode.
He was charged with felony possession of a firearm, reckless endangerment, armed robbery, and trespassing.
Water Supply Shut Off
Thomas was booked into the county jail, where he continued to show signs of mental disturbance. He flooded his cell by clogging the toilet and was transferred to a disciplinary unit known as Pod 4D, where troublesome prisoners were isolated.
On the orders of jail guard Lieutenant Kashka Meadors, his water supply was cut off. Thomas died seven days later of dehydration. Other inmates said he begged for water in the days before he died.
In 2018, three correctional officers, including Meadows, were convicted of wrongdoing in relation to Thomas’ death. They were given sentences ranging from 30 days to nine months in prison.
Armor Correctional employees were accused of neglecting to assess Thomas’ health in any way, while fabricating records to make it look as though they had.
“During my investigation into Mr Thomas’ death, I determined that medical staff, employed by Armor Correctional, made multiple false entries in Mr Thomas’ patient health care record,” investigators wrote in the criminal complaint.
District Attorney John Chisholm said in a news release Wednesday that while it was extremely rare to prosecute a corporation, it was justified in this case because the circumstances were “particularly egregious.”
Armor had a history of civil regulatory enforcement against it for similar complaints and there was “pervasiveness of wrongdoing within the corporation,” he added.
“Armor Correctional betrayed the trust of the people of Milwaukee County by not only neglecting Mr. Thomas and others, but also by attempting to hide the neglect by falsifying the medical records,” Chisolm said.
The company is expected to be hit with heavy fines when it is sentenced next month.