Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Taylor Family Sues Bexar County for Son's 'Untimely' Jail Death

Posted By on Tue, Jun 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

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Taylor and daughter Adilynn

Last Friday the family of Thomas Taylor filed a lawsuit against Bexar County and the Sheriff's office regarding the "untimely death" of Taylor within seven hours of turning himself into jail this past August.

The Facts:

On August 21, 2012, Thomas Taylor turned himself in to the Bexar County Adult Detention Facility for active misdemeanor warrants. It was 7:48 p.m. when he walked up to the front desk. Officials then escorted Taylor to the booking area around 9:06 p.m. No background check of Taylor's medical history or suicide history within the possession of the Detention Facility was performed.

That night, at about 12:10 a.m. Taylor was placed in isolation for allegedly causing a disturbance. Two hours later, detention officers discovered him on his knees, bent at his torso, with his arms to his side and his forehead to the floor. Paramedics attempted to revive him but did not succeed.

The Lawsuit:

"15. Because detention officers unnecessarily placed Mr. Taylor in an isolation cell that lacked integral safety components, namely surveillance equipment which would have allowed the detention officers to observe Mr. Taylor while in isolation, thus depriving Mr. Taylor of his constitutional rights. Furthermore, due to the improper use of the detention facility's records, Mr. Taylor was improperly placed in isolation despite Defendants' knowledge of his past drug history, prescription drug use, and past suicide attempts. Defendants additionally failed to implement its own procedures in providing the necessary staff to observe Mr. Taylor at the required 15 minute intervals, leading Defendants' detention officers to falsify government records in their attempt to evade fault. This was done on a regular basis upon orders by the directors of the facility and, as evidenced by similar patterns, had become an official custom of the detention facility.
 
16. The execution of Defendants' official customs and policies of the Bexar County Sheriff's Office, Detention Division, deprived Mr. Taylor of his constitutional and federal rights, as Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to the welfare of Mr. Taylor despite Defendants' knowledge of the grave risk of harm and failure to take easily available measures to address the risk. 
 
17. Defendants' actions and omissions proximately caused Mr. Taylor's untimely death and Plaintiff's injuries and damages."
Check this week's issue of the Current for more about Taylor and the Bexar County Jail's fatal flaws. Also, make sure to tune into TPR's The Source tomorrow, Wednesday June 4th at 3 p.m. to listen to Current staff writer Mike Barajas talk about his work on this controversial feature.

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