Criminal charges filed in case where Black inmate died in David Clarke’s jail
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 2/23/2018, 9:38 a.m.
The company that handled medical services for a Milwaukee jail formerly run by conservative Black sheriff David Clarke is facing criminal charges in connection with the death of an inmate who died of “profound dehydration” after Clarke’s employees cut off his jail cell’s water supply for a week. According to documents obtain by the Huffington Post, the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office brought seven counts of intentional falsification of records against Armor Correctional Health Services Inc. in connection with Terrill Thomas’ 2016 death. The district attorney’s office said that the company “engaged in a pattern and practice of intentionally falsifying entries in inmate patient health care records.” The company’s personnel, investigators say, falsely stated that they checked on Thomas, when surveillance video footage contradicts these accounts. The district attorney’s office added that staffers may have “identified Mr. Thomas’ fatal medical distress” had they actually performed the medical assessments they claimed to have carried out. Thomas, a 38-year-old with mental health issues, died on April 24, 2016, nine days after his arrest in connection with a shooting. Other inmates nearby his cell said he begged for water in the days before he died. “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,” Robert G. Stelter, an investigator with the district attorney’s office, wrote in a criminal compliant. “I compared Criminal Justice Facility video surveillance footage of Mr. Thomas’ cell area with entries in Mr. Thomas’ patient health care records,” Stelter wrote. “That comparison showed Armor Correctional employees either walking by Mr. Thomas’ cell without stopping or never appearing at his cell at all, when at the same time, the employees recorded they medically assessed Mr. Thomas.” One Armor Correctional Health Services employee even “fabricated blood pressure and pulse readings” that were never performed, Stelter wrote. Erik J. Heipt, an attorney for the Thomas estate, told HuffPost that it was “beyond rare” for a company to face criminal charges in connection with a jail death. He added it was remarkable that prosecutors were alleging that the company had a corporate practice of falsifying medical records. Heipt is representing the Thomas estate in its own lawsuit again Clarke over Thomas’