About 30 people blocked off the 200 block of West Doty Street in downtown Madison Sunday to demand the release of Jimmie Joshua so he could receive adequate medical care and physical therapy.
As Madison365 reported in March, Dane County Jail deputies broke Joshua’s hip and left him in an isolation cell for 15 hours before taking him to the hospital on December 23, 2020. His injuries required extensive surgery, including the insertion of a metal plate and eight screws in his pelvis. He stayed in the hospital for eight days.
Joshua has since alleged that the jail is not providing adequate physical therapy or health care. He has also filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the County, seeking $2.5 million in damages.
Joshua is in the Dane County Jail for violating terms of probation and awaiting trial on additional charges. At a revocation hearing Tuesday, a judge could release Joshua on bond to await trial, or could have him placed in a facility other than the jail that could more adequately provide health care.
“Although Jimmie is still in custody and suffering from his injuries, we hope that he can be released soon,” said Joshua’s public defender, Schuyler Boggio, in an email to Madison365. “Jimmie appreciates, and is encouraged by the support from those in the community that stand by him.”
Alison Davidson, Joshua’s fiancee, said if he were sent home, he would have access to care and a support system.
“He can be set up with BadgerCare,” Davidson said, noting that he has used state Medicaid programs in the past. “He has a safe place to come to. I can get him to wherever he needs to go. They know I love him and will take good care of him.”
While it is up to the state Department of Corrections and an administrative law judge whether or not Joshua is released, activists are calling on Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett to intervene. Barrett is the county’s first Black sheriff.
“We have Black people in several positions of power in the criminal justice apparatus here, so there is an opportunity to be different,” said an organizer for Black Umbrella Global. “And to be different would be to reach out by Tuesday — this is our demand of the sheriff — to reach out … if he reached out to the parole and probation people, to the judge, and said, ‘Look, this happened in the jail. The jail system does not … have the capacity to give Jimmie the health care that he has a right to,’ … it is his moral duty to say something and to intervene.”
Beyond intervening in the revocation hearing, the organizer said the sheriff should weigh in on the incident that put Joshua in the hospital.
“The sheriff needs to condemn that act publicly,” the organizer said. “Go against the grain. Do what (former) Sheriff Mahoney and all the white sheriffs would dare not do and be a true voice for justice. A Black man with a badge should advocate for a Black man who got assaulted by people with badges.”
Barrett declined to comment publicly, citing Joshua’s lawsuit.
“I would like to comment on the Jimmie Joshua incident but due to pending legal litigation I cannot comment on Mr. Joshua’s case,” Barrett said in an email to Madison365.
Protest organizers said the case is an example of broader problems in the criminal justice system.
“This is much bigger than Jimmie,” Davidson said. “When this happens to Black men, police and (jail) staff look at Black men as if they are angry and aggressive … I pray that they find it in their hearts to do the right thing.”