Medical services company guilty in Milwaukee jail death

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The company that provided medical services at a Wisconsin jail has been found guilty in the 2016 dehydration death of an inmate.

Armor Correctional Health Services Inc., based in Miami, was charged in 2018 with felony abuse of residents of a penal facility and seven misdemeanor counts of falsifying health records in the death of 38-year-old Terrill Thomas.

Thomas was arrested in April 2016 after running into the Potawatomi casino in Milwaukee, ordering everyone to get out and then firing two rounds from a handgun. No one was injured. His family said Thomas had likely been experiencing a psychotic episode.

He was placed in isolation in Milwaukee County Jail. Guards cut off his access to water because they said they saw him stuffing his shirt and pieces of mattress into his toilet to flood the cell.

Prosecutors said Armor’s employees claimed to have checked on Thomas while he was in isolation, but surveillance video showed them passing his cell “without stopping or never appearing at his cell at all.” The charges also allege an Armor employee at one point “fabricated blood pressure and pulse readings” for Thomas.

Thomas died after a week in isolation.

A Milwaukee County Circuit Court jury returned the verdict against the company late Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

“Armor Correctional betrayed the trust of the people of Milwaukee County by not only neglecting Mr. Thomas and others, but also by attempting to hide the neglect by falsifying the medical records,” District Attorney John Chisholm said in a statement Wednesday.

Armor’s attorney, Patrick J. Knight, said the company would appeal the verdict and several pre-trial rulings.

A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Nov. 16. The company faces fines of up to $190,000.

Three jail officials were also convicted of criminal charges in Thomas’ death, including neglect and misconduct.

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