The daughter of a Salt Lake County inmate who died from a stroke after repeatedly asking for medical attention is suing the sheriff, the jail and many of its employees, alleging deliberate indifference and reckless disregard for the woman’s life.
The lawsuit lists several other deaths at the jail, alleging they are “[i]ndicative of the culture, policies, procedures, and customs permitted, condoned, and perpetuated” there, and that those “led to the grossly deficient and indifferent medical care system.”
It was filed Friday in U.S. District Court on behalf of Jontue Chavez, Angie Turner’s daughter. Turner, 52, who was in the Salt Lake County Metro Jail awaiting trial, died early June 28, 2018. That was ten days after first reporting severe and recurring headaches to jail officials, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges jail staff dismissed Turner’s health concerns and accused her of faking an illness.
On June 27, when Turner cried out in pain after her throat and tongue went numb, the responding housing officer allegedly ignored her and called her an “a--hole” and used other profanity toward her.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that when a jail nurse came to Turner’s cell to check on her, the nurse was dismissive and slow to respond.
Turner died just before 1 a.m. on June 28 — “[d]ue to the [d]efendant’s negligence and violations of the law,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit names nine other deaths in the jail, including David Walker, Lisa Ostler and Meagan Deadrich’s unborn baby.
Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.
They recently released a statement in response to a letter from Attorney Rocky Anderson, a former Salt Lake City mayor. He sent the letter to every state legislator and Salt Lake County Council member and detailed some of these cases, asking for elected leaders to push reforms and launch an investigation and audit of the jail.
The statement said that people who come into the jail have “unique medical challenges,” and policies and procedures are in place to address those medical needs.
“We continually review and improve our policies and procedures to ensure we are operating consistent with current best practices,” the statement said.
It added that officials go through a review process anytime someone dies at the jail, which includes both an outside criminal investigation and an internal review.