A year ago, Terill Thomas, a man with a chronic mental illness as well as diabetes and a bad heart, died while in the custody of David Clarke's county jail. Investigations revealed that Clarke's staff had turned off the water to Thomas' cell for seven days and denied him medical care before he died. It was later learned that even after Terill's death, jail staff did this same act of cruelty to two other inmates, one only a week after Terill's death.
For the past week, an inquest jury has been hearing evidence regarding the case to determine whether criminal charges should be brought against the jail staff. It took them only 90 minutes to come back with a ruling that all seven people that were subjects of the inquest should be charged.
Those staff members include:Jail Commander Maj. Nancy Evans, Lt. Kashka Meadors and Corrections Officers Jordon Johnson, Thomas Laine, James Ramsey-Guy, John Weber and Dominique Smith.
An eight staff member, Captain George Gold, who was investigated but not part of the inquest, abruptly resigned.
Noticeably absent from the conversation was the guy in charge of the jail, Sheriff David Clarke. When asked about that, District Attorney John Chisholm said this:
Chisholm told reporters he would give a lot of weight to the inquest verdict but is not bound by it or limited by it. He could charge more than seven people, none or any number in between.
He said he tried to limit the number of individuals to those directly involved in Thomas’ care or jail leaders who knew or should have known of problems.
Asked why he did not ask jurors to consider if Clarke may have been liable, Chisholm said he would not comment on whether the sheriff or any other individual would likely face charges.
Clarke really should be charged.
First and foremost, he is the top dog at the jail and everything that happens there is ultimately his responsibility.
Secondly, it was Clarke's own policy that led up to this happening. The jail used to have a special needs dorm which was staffed by the Special Management Team, correction officers trained to deal with inmates with chronic mental illness. Clarke, in his infinite lack of wisdom, decided to do away with this unit, thereby bringing these special needs inmates in with the general population. It was a recipe for disaster and often, these mentally ill inmates would not get along well with others and end up in isolation where they fare even worse.
Another odd thing is how did Nancy Evans end up being a jail commander? In 2011, Evans was the subject of an investigation which caused her to be demoted from her spot as third highest ranked official in the Sheriff's Office:
According to the report, Evans admitted she had a 10-year extra-marital relationship with a man she paid to do some remodeling in the administrative offices where she oversaw the Milwaukee County Jail.
Investigators said Evans paid her paramour "$5,852 of taxpayers' money for work that was not completed." Then "ordered her staff to have the inmate workers complete the work" while she attended a jail conference in Reno, accompanied by the remodeler.
So in just four years, Evans goes from almost losing her job and going to jail to being the jail commander? Something sure smells fishy.
Another thing that is very curious is that the loud-mouthed Clarke, who usually spews vitriol and hate everywhere, has been a long time proponent of standing up for officers around the country, whether they are guilty or innocent. But with his own officers, he's been suspiciously mum and only issued this brief statement after the verdict was read:
"This is part of a process. I respect the process. Jury recommendations are just that. The next step in the process is for DA Chisholm to decide if actual charges will be brought forth. There will be no speculation of what will happen until it happens," Clarke said in a statement.
Why, that's not very supportive at all! It's almost like he's afraid of saying something that might be used against him later.
Although to be honest, even if Clarke was charged in Terill's death, he could get off due to plausible deniability.
First, he's too stupid to understand what's going on without someone feeding him talking points. Secondly, he could honestly claim ignorance, since he was gone so much of the time, making appearances on Faux Newz and traveling around the country and to Russia for the NRA.,