Milwaukee jail inmate Terrill Thomas was doing time after being arrested in connection with a casino shooting. After spending only nine days incarcerated in the Milwaukee County Jail, Terrill Thomas was found dead in his cell on April 24, 2016. Ironically, the Milwaukee County Jail is operated by prominent Donald Trump supporter and Black Lives Matter opponent Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.
Ultimately, the cause of 38-year-old inmate Terrill Thomas’ death was determined to be “profound dehydration.” According to fellow inmates of the Milwaukee County Jail, Terrill Thomas had been heard begging and pleading for something to drink in the days leading up to his death. Apparently, his cries for help and water went unanswered.
As the Huffington Post reports, Milwaukee inmate Terrill Thomas’ cause of death was announced by the medical examiner in charge of his case last week. In addition to declaring that Terrill Thomas died due to being cruelly dehydrated while locked in his cell, the Milwaukee County ME also labeled the death of the inmate a homicide.
Inmate Terrill Thomas, who died in the jail run by a very outspoken supporter of Donald Trump for POTUS, had reportedly been without water for at least six days prior to the discovery of his dehydrated dead body. According to other inmates who were locked up alongside Terrill Thomas, those running the Milwaukee County Jail, including Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., deliberately shut off the water flow to Thomas’ cell.
Terrill Thomas’ fellow inmates were reportedly so concerned about Thomas and his lack of access to water for drinking and/or sanitation that at least one inmate called out a guard about Thomas’ potential fate well before the 38-year-old (who had never been proven guilty of his alleged crime in a court of law) tragically died in his cell.
“If something happens to that man, it’s your fault.”
While the determination that Milwaukee inmate Terrill Thomas’ death was, in fact, a homicide does open up the door for further investigations and lawsuits, it doesn’t guarantee that anyone will ever be charged in connection with his death.
It is definitely unclear whether or not the sheriff or any of the Milwaukee County Jail guards could face criminal charges in connection with the untimely death of inmate Terrill Thomas, it does appear that Milwaukee county could be facing a civil suit in the matter. The deceased former inmate’s family has reportedly retained the services of attorney Erik J. Heipt, who has a history of representing the families of those who have died while their freedom was denied them in jail cells
According to Heipt, the death of inmate Thomas was utterly preventable, and the responsibility lies squarely on the shoulders of the people who locked him up and cut off his access to water, an absolute necessity for human survival.
“No one should ever die of dehydration. It just should never happen.”
Heipt went on to say that, while it may be understandable and perhaps even necessary for a jail to cut the water flow to an individual prisoner’s cell, there is no justification for any jail to deny an inmate access to drinking water. Ever.
“They may well have had reason to turn off the water. There absolutely could be reasons why you’d want to turn off someone’s water in their cell. But to then not give them drinking water? That’s crazy. To make a human being die of thirst, where they have no ability to get their own water for survival, that’s pretty inhumane. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”
According to the attorney now representing the surviving family of Terrill Thomas, he has spoken to several inmates of the Milwaukee County Jail who claim that, while they were incarcerated at the facility, their water was also cut off.
In fact, the Milwaukee jail that housed inmate Terrill Thomas during his horrific and torturous last days has a documented history of inmate deaths related to water restrictions. In 2011, former inmate Antonio Cowser lost his life after being deprived of water in his cell.
The office of Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr is refusing to comment on the death of Milwaukee jail inmate Terrill Thomas, and in a press release added they no comments on the case will be made until every civil lawsuit has been fully resolved.
[Featured Image by Milwaukee County Jail]