MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) — The family of an Oklahoma man who died in 2016 while in custody at the Muskogee County jail has filed a civil lawsuit.
The lawsuit was filed Monday against individuals working in the facility, supervisors of the workers and the Muskogee County commissioners, the Muskogee Phoenix reported. It seeks damages in excess of $75,000.
The lawsuit alleges that jailers Jacob Slay and Dakota West forcibly moved Marvin A. Rowell into a restraint chair, which caused him to fall down and strike his head on a concrete floor. It calls the decision unjustifiable.
“As defendants West and Slay escorted decedent into the hallway toward the restraint chair, without provocation or justification, defendant West forcibly handled decedent by pushing him and/or causing or allowing him to fall, causing him to suffer serious injuries which ultimately resulted in his death,” the lawsuit says.
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The lawsuit also alleges that Rowell was in an “obvious state of intoxication, being well known by the individual defendants on duty at the time of the subject incident as an alcoholic, having been arrested on several previous occasions and detained in said detention center.”
Attorneys for Rowell’s estate, James A. McAuliff and Stanley Monroe, said the jailers’ conduct “must be characterized as exhibiting deliberate indifference to the Constitutional rights” of Rowell. They said the action deprived Rowell of his constitutional civil liberties.
Muskogee County District Attorney Orvil Loge declined to comment to the newspaper on the lawsuit.
Information from: Muskogee Phoenix, http://www.muskogeephoenix.com