Officer Allegedly Cut Inmate's Water a Week Before His Death

His family says it was 'a form of torture'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2017 8:09 AM CDT
Officer Allegedly Cut Inmate's Water a Week Before His Death
Terrill Thomas   (Milwaukee County Jail)

As Terrill Thomas was placed in solitary confinement at Milwaukee County Jail on April 17, 2016, a corrections officer was seen on surveillance video turning off the water in his cell. It remained off for seven days before Thomas, 38, died of dehydration, a jury heard Monday. The six jurors will produce an advisory verdict on whether criminal charges should be filed in the case, involving one of four deaths at the jail in a six-month period. Assistant District Attorney Kurt Benkley says the decision to shut off Thomas' water—without making note of the move in jail logs or on a whiteboard in the solitary confinement unit—"was highly irregular and contrary to standard operating procedure in the jail," reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Thomas—who was moved to solitary confinement after flooding a section of the jail's special needs unit—wasn't taking his medication for bipolar disorder and "was unable to tell people about his basic needs," Benkley says. Inmates have said they asked corrections officers to intervene. However, one of at least 20 officers on duty in the solitary confinement unit during the week of Thomas' death testified Monday that he was unaware Thomas' water had been shut off. He added inmates in that unit only received a drink with their meals on Sundays, per Fox 6. Family members have filed a federal lawsuit alleging Thomas was "subjected to a form of torture" during his incarceration, which followed a shooting at a hotel and casino, per WISN. (More Wisconsin stories.)

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