The family of Terrill Thomas, an inmate who died of dehydration while in custody at the Milwaukee County Jail in 2016, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit naming 29 defendants including Milwaukee County and Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
The lawsuit comes a little over three months after an inquest jury recommended charges against the seven jail employees involved in Thomas’ death, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. The jury found probable cause that Sheriff’s Maj. Nancy Evans; jail Lt. Kashka Meadors; and corrections officers James Ramsey-Guy, Thomas Laine, John Weber, Dominique Smith and JorDon Johnson all committed crimes in Thomas’ grueling death.
Milwaukee’s medical examiner concluded that Thomas died in April 2016 due to “profound dehydration” in a jail run by Sheriff Clarke. Investigators said jailers shut off the water to the jail cell of Thomas, 38, as a form of punishment for several incidents – including an attempt to flood the cell. Officials said Thomas, who grappled with bipolar disorder, was denied both water and a mattress for seven straight days at the jail.
The estate is seeking punitive damages as well as compensation for Thomas’ mental and physical suffering.