Cibola County agrees to $5M settlement in inmate's death | KOB 4

Cibola County agrees to $5M settlement in inmate's death

Chris Ramirez
January 30, 2018 10:23 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- A New Mexico county blamed for letting a sick inmate die in its jail has agreed to pay $5 million to the inmate's family.


While in pretrial custody at the Cibola County jail in July 2016, 50-year-old Douglas Edminsten became violently sick, throwing up blood and begging to be taken to the hospital. Instead, he was left in the pod for hours and late died.

Inmates at the jail became so concerned about Edminsten that they formed a prayer circle around him.

"When people go to jail, they don't lose their humanity. They don't lose their souls. They don't lose the essence of being a human being," said Matt Coyte, one of Edminsten's attorneys. "And you can see that in the video when they walk around their fellow inmate and pray for a man who is dying in front of their eyes, and the jail is doing nothing for him.

Edminsten suffered for seven hours and at some point appeared to be unconscious. An autopsy later revealed a blood vessel ruptured in his stomach causing his abdomen to swell with blood.

Had he received medical intervention, Edminsten's attorneys believe he would have had an 80 percent chance of living.

The jail in Grants has since shut down.

Cibola County did not admit blame in the settlement, but a $5 million agreement speaks volumes. To put the figure in perspective, that's what the family of Albuquerque homeless camper James Boyd received after Albuquerque Police Department officers shot and killed him in the Foothills.

"The take away is you provide compassionate, humane care-medical care -- just basic medical care for the people you have in your custody," Coyte said.

KOB could not get in touch base with county administrators for comment in time by the deadline for this story, but the county's legal team has made it clear through court documents the county does not admit any liability.


Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved



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