Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Sheriff’ Category

Sheriff added to lawsuit on inmate death


Lincoln Parish Sheriff Stephen Williams was this week added as a defendant in the federal lawsuit alleging negligence in the death of a detention center inmate.

See here the amended complaint.

Demerious Jones died in September, 2021 while in custody of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, partly as a result of diabetic keto acidosis. The suit alleges that detention center staff were deliberately indifferent to Jones’ medical condition, and contributed to his death.

The original lawsuit named two nurses, several deputies, and the detention center commission.

However, after receiving a copy of the cooperative endeavor agreement between the commission and the sheriff, plaintiff attorneys added Williams to the suit.

According to the agreement, “The SHERIFF agrees to provide for the basic routine health care needs of the Detention Center inmates, with all health care personnel responsible for dispensing medical services to inmates meeting all necessary certification and licensing requirements required by law.”


Trial date set for Detention Center death lawsuit


A 9:00 AM, February 6, 2024 trial date has been set for the civil case of Jones v Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission, et al, in US Court for the Western District of Louisiana, in Monroe.

The order, signed yesterday by Magistrate Judge Kayla McClusky, also sets various other dates and times for motions, conferences and submissions.

See here the signed order.

In other developments in the case, a Ridgeland, MS attorney has petitioned the court to sign on as plaintiff co-counsel. Sean Guy is with McCraney Montagnet Quin & Noble PLLC.

See here the motion.

Grant Castillo of The Townsley Law Firm, LLP, Lake Charles initially filed the suit.

The complaint alleges that Demerious Jones was denied medical care while in the custody of the detention center and died as a result.

Autopsy, reports confirm parts of wrongful death suit


Several allegations contained in the federal lawsuit Jones v LPDCC have been confirmed, according to a coroner’s autopsy and investigator’s reports.

The suit was filed in September, 2022 by Franequa Jones, who alleged that her son Demerious was neglected while in the custody of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center in September, 2021, and died as a result of that negligence.

Franequa died soon after the suit was filed, but just this past Thursday, a motion was filed that would substitute Demerious’ sister as plaintiff, as she is the heir to his estate.

In the lawsuit, it is alleged that Demerious Jones was diabetic, and that detention center medical personnel were aware of his condition.

In a report, Union Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputy Michael McClain stated:

“While on scene I was advised Jones is known at LPDC due to him being a repeat offender and being housed at LPDC on numerous occasions. I was advised Jones is a diabetic who frequently neglects his heath.”

The lawsuit alleges that Jones exhibited symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis, which is potentially life-threatening.

Forensic Pathologist Dr. Frank Peretti, who conducted the autopsy, wrote:

“This 21-year-old,  black  male,  Demerious Jones, died of  hypertensive  cardiovascular disease with contributory factor of diabetic ketoacidosis.   Investigation of the circumstances of death revealed that the decedent was an inmate at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center when he became unresponsive. Reportedly, he had a history of diabetes mellitus.”

Also alleged in the suit was that Jones exhibited deteriorating health symptoms prior to his death.

Again, from McClain’s report:

“On 9/23/21at approximately 0800 hrs,Jones was placed in his holding cell and left on his bed. At approximately 0816, deputies returned to Jones’s cell and assisted him in moving his mattress to the floor. Over the next few hours Jones remained on the floor and was observed on his own,using his cup to drink water from the toilet.

“At approximately 1223 hrs, Jones was brought a tray of food. It appeared Jones refused to eat the food when offered by the deputies.The food tray was left on Jones’s bed and remained untouched. During this time Jones would move around on the floor and shift his position.

“At approximately 1459 hrs, deputies entered Jones’s cell for a medical checkup.The deputies assisted Jones in drinking and attempted to have him eat some food. At approximately 1543 hrs,Jones was brought another tray of food which he ignored. Over the next several hours Jones remained on the floor and continued to shift his positions and would prop up on his elbow and hands for time to time. 

“On the following morning of 9/24/21,Jones was still on the floor and appeared to vomit on himself. During this time I did observed deputies visually observe Jones by either opening the door or looking through the window.

“At approximately 0557 hrs. Nurse Jennifer entered the room and conducted a sugar test on Jones which she noted in her report. Jones remained on the floor but would continue to move around.

“At approximately 0726,Jones appeared to vomit again. Over the next few hours I observed Deputies to randomly check on Jones in which he appeared to communicate back with the deputy.

“At approximately 1158 hrs,Nurse Jennifer entered Jones’s cell and performed a sugar test and later administered the insulin she noted. At approximately 1233 hours Jones appeared to take several distressed breaths after which I could not detect any movement via the footage.

“At approximately 1247,a deputy entered with Nurse Jennifer. They were observed checking for a pulse at which point Jones was pulled out from under the bed and CPR was begun.”

See here all the documents.

Also of note is that the investigation was done not by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, but by deputies from Ouachita and Uniion parishes, via an agency called the North Louisiana Sheriff’s Investigative Unit (NLSIU).

That agency was formed 2021 to investigate in-custody deaths and excessive force allegations, and is composed of investigators from Lincoln, Union, Ouachita, Caldwell, Franklin, Morehouse, and Richland parish sheriffs offices.

We can find no legislative authority for such an investigative unit.

LPSO responsible for prisoner medical care, per agreement


The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office is responsible for the health and medical care of prisoners and detainees at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, per a cooperative endeavor agreement signed in June, 2020 by Sheriff Stephen Williams and detention center commission Chairman Joe Henderson.

The agreement expires 6/30/2024.

  • “The SHERIFF agrees to provide for the basic routine health care needs of the Detention Center inmates, with all health care personnel responsible for dispensing medical services to inmates meeting all necessary certification and licensing requirements required by law.”
  • “The SHERIFF also agrees to maintain sufficient first aid supplies and equipment necessary to support the overall basic routine medical treatment of the Detention Center inmates, which first aid supplies and equipment shall be maintained in accordance with prescribed standards recognized or approved by a licensed recognized health authority which possesses the expertise to evaluate, assess and determine the potential need or conditions of the required first aid supplies and equipment.”
  • “The SHERIFF is authorized to contract with third party medical service providers for the purpose of providing non-routine medical services, such as emergency services, hospitalization, surgical, optical or dental services to the Detention Center inmates.”

The sheriff claims to have “special knowledge, expertise, and training” in jail operation.

  • “WHEREAS. the maintenance and operation of a parish detention center requires special knowledge, expertise and training in order to comply with the Louisiana Basic Jail Standards and various laws of this state regarding jails and prisons and the rules and regulations of the Louisiana State Fire Marshal, Louisiana State Health Department. and Louisiana Department of Corrections;”
  • “and WHEREAS, the SHERIFF has offered the knowledge, expertise and training capabilities of his office and staff in connection with the future maintenance and operations of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.”

See here the complete document.

Last year, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, the detention center commission, several unnamed deputies, and two nurses were sued for alleged negligence in the care of Demerious Jones, who was diabetic and serving a 60-day sentence in the jail.

At last week’s meeting of the jury, an executive session to discuss the matter was held that included an attorney and the jury’s insurance carrier.

LPPJ Agenda amended to confirm attorney hire


The agenda for tonight’s Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting was yesterday amended to include confirmation to engage attorneys to defend against a lawsuit against the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission.

Two police jurors are members of that five-member commission. Also members are the District Attorney, Lincoln Parish Sheriff, and the Ruston Police Chief.

Nelson, Zentner, Sartor & Snellings, LLC will defend in Jones v LPDCC, a suit brought by the mother of an inmate who died in custody in September, 2021.

Franequa Jones alleges that her son Demerious was denied medical care for his diabetic condition, and died as a result of negligence by the detention center staff.

Jones was serving a 60 day sentence for misdemeanor probation violation.

See here the lawsuit.

Also named in the suit are several detention center deputies and nurses.

The center is operated and staffed by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Bel Edwards on Ronald Greene Homicide

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See the complete press conference here.

Bel Edwards was part of Ronald Greene Homicide Coverup from day 1


From WBRZ-TV 2 Baton Rouge

Report: Governor learned about Ronald Greene’s death hours after it happened, kept quiet about deadly arrest

Source: Associated Press By: Jim Mustian and Jake Bleiberg

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat in a deep-red state, was immersed in a difficult reelection campaign when he received a text message from the head of the state police: Troopers had engaged in “a violent, lengthy struggle” with a Black motorist, ending with the man’s death.

Edwards was notified of the circumstances of Ronald Greene’s death within hours of his deadly May 2019 arrest, according to text messages The Associated Press obtained through a public records request. Yet the governor kept quiet as police told a much different story to the victim’s family and in official reports: that Greene died from a crash following a high-speed chase.

The governor has rebuffed repeated interview requests and his spokesperson would not say what steps, if any, Edwards took in the immediate aftermath of Greene’s death.

What the governor knew, when he knew it and what he did have become questions in a federal civil rights investigation of the deadly encounter and whether police brass obstructed justice to protect the troopers who arrested Greene.

WBRZ-TV: Second-in-command at State Police implicated in Ronald Greene cover-up


WBRZ-TV2 – Baton Rouge – Chris Nakamoto and Erin McWilliams

See here the complete report.

Of interest to the local area is this passage in LSP Investigator Albert Paxton’s notes:

“Cain tells the DA Greene screamed out because a taser probe was being removed. Doug Cain defends Clary. Doug Cain does not want Clary prosecuted… Doug Cain appears angry the DA is even thinking about it.”

Cain is Louisiana State Police Chief of Staff Lt. Colonel Doug Cain.

Detention Center Budgets Introduced


Amended 2021 and proposed 2022 budgets were last Thursday introduced to the parish jail’s governing committee, the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission. That body is charged with overseeing the facility’s budget and operation. It is composed of two police jurors, the sheriff, the district attorney, and Ruston’s police chief.

Expenditures are predicted to increase almost $100 thousand, from $4.86 million in 2021 to $4.94 million in 2022.

Revenues are projected to decline from 2021’s $4.47 million to $4.38 million in 2022.

Warden Jim Tuten said that for 2021 the food costs increased.

“Our food costs are going up. It’s hard to lock in pricing on food. We anticipate that it will continue to go up,” he said.

Police Jury President Richard Durrett asked about the significant increase in personnel retirement costs, and Tuten said that the jail budget assumed all of those costs for 2021, part of which had formerly been paid by the sheriff’s office.

Tuten told the group that he plans to retire at the end of this year and that Assistant Warden J. D. Driskill will be taking his place.

Driskell said that the estimated fund balance at the beginning of 2022 should be $1.96 million.

A December 15 meeting and public hearing is set to finally adopt the budget. No one from the DA’s office was at last week’s meeting, nor the previous 9/30/21 meeting.

Most Lincoln Parish DC Inmates not Vaxxed


About 60% of the inmates now housed at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center are not vaccinated, Warden Jim Tuten told the quarterly meeting of the Detention Center Commission this morning.

Said Tuten, “Right now, about 40% of our inmates are vaccinated, and 60% refused to be vaccinated. Any time anybody comes in that’s been arrested, we ask them, we have a form they fill out and we ask them if they’ve had the inoculation, and if they answer no, we ask them do you want a shot, and the vast majority are refusing.”

However, Tuten said that only four inmates had tested positive for Covid-19 this year, and they all exhibited no symptoms. The jail continues to have an extensive disinfection and screening procedure in place, he said.

“We’re still taking every inmate’s temperature three times a day,” said Tuten. He added, “All of our employees – when we come in the morning, the first thing that happens, we take our temperature. We’re doing all that we can to try to protect our staff and our inmates.”

Tuten noted that as of midnight last night, the jail held 306 inmates, with 203 of them in pre-trial detainment.

The commission also set dates in November and December to adopt an amended budget for the current year, and a proposed budget for 2022.

Asked about the in-custody death of an inmate last week, Sheriff Stephen Williams said that the body had been sent to Little Rock, AR for autopsy by Dr. Frank Peretti of the Arkansas State Crime Lab.

Lincoln Parish Coroner Dr. Michael Belue will have to sign off on the findings, Williams said.