Jailers Put Husband in ‘Cage,’ Widow Says

     FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – A California inmate died after jailers threw him in a cage rather than seek medical help because he was ill from swallowing drugs, his widow claims in court.
     Rachel Simmons sued three jailers at Avenal State Prison in Federal Court, for the wrongful death of her husband, Armando Simmons.
     Defendants in the May 28 federal complaint are Correctional Officers Rodriguez and Hall, and Sergeant Luis. No first names are given, nor is the state named as a defendant.
     Armando Simmons was in administrative segregation – also known as solitary confinement – on May 30, 2013, when he called jailers to his cell and told them he had swallowed some drugs and was not feeling well, his widow says in the complaint.
     “The correctional officers laughed at him and said, ‘How do we know you swallowed drugs?’ At this point, Mr. Simmons started yelling, ‘Man down! Man down!” Other inmates began yelling ‘Man down!’ as well,” the complaint states.
     Sgt. Luis came out of his office and Simmons was told to strip so the officers could cuff him and take him out of his cell. The officers put Simmons “in a cage” while they searched his cell, according to the complaint.
     “While Mr. Simmons was cuffed up and naked in the cage, he continued to holler and scream for help and lay on the floor for about 45 minutes twitching before the ‘390 nurses’ arrived to escort him out of the facility,” the complaint states. (390 refers to a California law on skilled nursing.)
     Simmons was taken to Coalinga Regional Medical Center in Fresno County, where he was pronounced dead that evening. The cause of death on his death certificate is acute methamphetamine overdose, his widow says.
     “As far as the facts go, we do have at least four witnesses who saw what happened to Mr. Simmons,” Rachel Simmons’s attorney Julia Young, of Granite Bay, told Courthouse News.
     “As soon as the discovery process starts, we’ll be able to depose everyone to get more details and information.”
     Simmons seeks punitive damages for conspiracy to deny her husband medical treatment, cruel and unusual punishment, wrongful death, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
     Defendants did immediately not return a request for comment.

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