A $10.7 million dollar lawsuit has been filed by the father of a man who died in the custody of Oregon deputies, who not only denied him medical treatment, but were caught on camera mocking his agony before he died alone on the floor of the jail due to a massive methamphetamine overdose.
Fours hours of surveillance footage was released by Deschutes CountyDistrict Attorney John Hummel and the lawyers representing the victim’s family laid out an entire timeline of his final hours.
Edwin B. Mays III, 31, was arrested on December 14, 2014, by Bend police officer Whitney Wiles on suspicion of heroin possession, menacing and providing false information to a police officer. She noted he appeared agitated, was twitching and determined that Mays was under the influence of a stimulant like Ritalin, Aderall or Dexedrine.
Mays was so erratic and unable to stay still that a booking photo was never taken.
“Look at Mays. He cannot sit still. I wonder if I should put him somewhere else.” Deputy Joseph Toman lamented.
Shortly after his arrival, his brother Adam Davenport was brought in, charged with felony and misdemeanor charges of attempt to elude, by vehicle and on foot as well as three counts of second-degree criminal trespass, two counts of third-degree criminal trespass, reckless driving and four counts of reckless endangering.
He had reportedly requested his brother be taken to a hospital, which fell on deaf ears.
“At 6:11 p.m., Deputy Jesse Hurley decided to abort the booking process, remarking that Mays – who was now waving his arms – was under the influence of something, the suit claims.
‘That guy is jacked up,’ Hurley said a short time later, noting that Mays was ‘doing the zombie.’ Hurley then mocked his prisoner’s erratic head, arm and hand motions, drawing laughter from Deputy Amanda Parks, the lawsuit alleges.
“At 6:26 p.m., Hurley informed (Deputy David) Chambers that Eddie Mays needed Narcan, which is a medication administered to drug overdose patients to save their lives. Eddie Mays continued to jump and thrash around the holding cell, slamming against the window of the cell door with his whole body.” Another deputy later remarked that Mays was “wound up tighter than a $6 watch.” Oregon Live reported.
At 6:53, medics were at the jail to check out another inmate. Despite Mays having told deputy Chambers he needed to go to the hospital prior to their arrival, the medics were never sent to check on Mays.
Less than a half-hour later, deputies broke the jail rules and began watching Sunday Night Football as Mays was still left without medical attention they had already acknowledged he needed. Shortly after, they began to worry that he may have hit his head on the wall, noting there was no nurse on duty that evening. Moments later, Hurley discovered that Mays had smashed his head open.
“Hey,” the deputy said, “did you see what he did to his head? It’s split wide open.”
At 8:23, they finally opened the door to his cell. By this time Mays was on his back with his arms straight out and convulsing. The guards asked what he had taken, but still provided no medical assistance.
His official cause of death was “methamphetamine toxicity,” but he had also choked on his own vomit. He had spent a total of 204 minutes in custody.
“Not only did they neglect him, they mocked him and they laughed at him for hours. He ended up dying on a dirty jail room floor.” Jennifer L. Coughlin, the lawyer representing his estate told Oregon Live.
His brother has stated that while Mays was troubled, he had a good heart and never would have allowed someone to die alone on his watch, unlike his captors.
“They let him die,” Davenport told NewsChannel 21. “I got a lot of hate in my heart right now. Whatever he did — all it takes them is a phone call. That’s their job.”
The lawsuit names the county, its sheriff and nine corrections staffers. The District Attorney has also asked the Department of Justice to investigate the death.