Elliott Williams spent the last five days of his life in a Tulsa County jail, paralyzed and lying on the cold concrete floor. But despite the 37-year-old Oklahoma man’s pleas for help, guards did nothing to save him, a lawsuit claims.
At one point, jailers dumped Williams’s limp body into a shower and left him there for an hour. The dying inmate “would not stand up but we did give him a shower anyway,” a captain later testified, according to a sheriff’s office internal report.
Another officer saw Williams face down in the shower, screaming, “Help me!” according to the internal report.
In the days that followed, Williams’s father tried in vain to contact his son. He was denied visitation “because of Elliott’s condition.”
“He’s acting like he’s paralyzed, but we know he’s not,” a mental health worker told Williams’s dad, court papers allege.
Detention officers, nurses, and even a jail psychiatrist accused Williams of “faking” an illness. His family says they declined to administer medical care or transport Williams to a hospital—until it was too late.
Cops arrested the Army vet, who had a history of mental illness, at a Marriott hotel on Oct. 21, 2011. Hotel staff called the cops after Williams, who was with his parents, appeared to have a mental breakdown in the lobby. At the time, his only alleged crime was misdemeanor obstruction.
But he paid with his life.
“This guy went almost six days and never got taken to the hospital with a broken neck,” Daniel Smolen, an attorney for Williams’s family, told The Daily Beast. “They’re throwing food at him and making fun of him in the cell while he’s going through a horrific death. You wouldn’t do that to an animal or any living thing.”
Most of the horrors Williams endured in the jail were captured on the facility’s surveillance footage. The shocking video was released in 2013, two years after the Williams family filed a federal lawsuit against then-Sheriff Stanley Glanz.
The complaint also targeted employees of the private health-care company contracted to operate the jail’s medical services. The firm, Correctional Healthcare Management, settled out of court two years ago, but the county didn’t. Smolen expects the Williams case to go to trial.
“It’s a slow, torturous death,” Smolen said, adding that Williams’s case is the worst civil rights violation he’s seen captured on film. “You’re cognizant of it the whole time. It’s like a nightmare.”
Source: The Daily Beast