Inmate’s family suing ACSO jailPublished 12:06am Friday, September 28, 2012
NATCHEZ — The mother of an inmate who died of apparent self-inflicted means in the Adams County jail has filed a wrongful death suit against the Adams County Sheriff’s Office in federal court.
The civil suit, filed in the U.S. Southern District Court of Mississippi’s Western Division by Camilla Collier last Friday, seeks $6 million in compensatory and punitive damages for the June 22, 2011, death of Collier’s son, Brandon Diaz.
According to the complaint affidavit, Diaz hanged himself while in custody at the ACSO jail. The suit states that Sheriff Chuck Mayfield and sheriff’s office employees “knew or should have known” that Diaz suffered from mental disability, had attempted suicide several times before and was on anti-depressant medication. The affidavit alleges he was not provided that medicine.
Diaz was arrested on charges of breaking into a commercial building in 2010 and had been bound over to a grand jury the day before he died. He had been incarcerated continually during that time because he did not have the money to bond out. The complaint states the arrest and the binding over to the grand jury was “without probable cause.”
The suit also claims that while Diaz was in custody he was physically and sexually assaulted in the jail, and that jail administrators had not done anything to prevent the abuse.
Even though they knew all of this information about Diaz, the jail administration had failed to remove anything from his cell that could have been used to commit suicide, the filing states.
Mayfield said Thursday he was aware of the suit but had not personally been served in it. He declined to discuss the details because of the pending litigation.
Such suits are not uncommon in situations like the one involving Diaz, he said.
“The suit was not a surprise to us, but we are confident that we will prevail in it,” he said.
Another Adams County prisoner hanged himself with his pants in a holding cell in late July.
A Mississippi Bureau of Investigation review of that matter affirmed the ACSO’s findings that the death was self-inflicted, Mayfield said.