Georgia parents file $5 million lawsuit in son’s jail death in Monroe County

Monroe County family members are suing the county and others for more than $5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to multiple news reports. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Monroe County family members are suing the county and others for more than $5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to multiple news reports. (Dreamstime/TNS)

Credit: TNS

Monroe County family members are suing the county and others for more than $5 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, according to multiple news reports.

Josh Marshall, 40, died Jan. 15, 2020, while in the Monroe County Detention Center, WGXA reported.

Besides the county, Sheriff Brad Freeman and individual deputies are named in the lawsuit and are accused of unreasonable acts, omissions and deliberate indifference, according to WGXA.

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Marshall’s parents, Mark Marshall and Marcella Dickenson, filed the lawsuit last Thursday, the news outlets reported. They allege in the lawsuit that jail guards failed to get Josh proper medical attention, WMAZ reported.

Josh had a schizophrenic episode while at his father’s house, according to the lawsuit. Josh had become violent and delusional so his father called 911 and requested that Josh be brought to River Edge Behavioral Health, WGXA reported.

Mark Marshall asked defendant Timothy Kendrick, a deputy, to bring Josh to a medical facility so his son could get treatment and evaluation to help his schizophrenic symptoms, according to WGXA.

Kendrick reportedly took Josh to the detention center that night, where he was booked, WGXA reported.

Kendrick contacted River Edge, according to the lawsuit, but it was unable to accept Josh as a patient. Josh had been treated there for several years, WMAZ reported.

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Josh never received any medical treatment or evaluation on Jan. 15, 2020, WGXA reported, citing the lawsuit.

Kendrick told defendant Rustin Hardesty, the supervisor at the detention center during that shift, that Josh was schizophrenic, WGXA reported, citing the lawsuit.

Defendants Hardesty, Torey Evans and Vantrell Grayer later let Josh out of his holding cell, uncuffed, as he continued to display schizophrenic symptoms, according to the suit. Josh’s symptoms included punching and slapping himself, WMAZ reported.

“Defendants Hardesty, Evans, and Grayer attempted to physically restrain Josh, during which Defendant Hardesty placed Josh in an unauthorized, illegal, and lengthy chokehold,” according to the lawsuit.

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The plaintiffs allege the chokehold lasted for 1 minute, 30 seconds, WGXA reported.

After Hardesty released Josh from the chokehold, he was lifeless, limp and turned blue, according to the suit.

The defendants failed to provide Josh with any immediate lifesaving medical treatment, according to the suit, specifically failing to administer CPR or use a defibrillator.

After six minutes of Josh being nonresponsive, Hardesty began performing chest compression on him, according to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

An autopsy revealed Josh’s death was caused by a “physical altercation with neck compression and prone position restraint,” according to the suit.

Jonathan Adams, district attorney for the Towaliga Judicial Circuit, said he reviewed the GBI’s investigation of Josh’s death and concluded the deputies did not break any laws, WMAZ reported.

But that decision did not address whether the jailers violated department policies, according to WMAZ.

The sheriff’s office’s policies state that “[u]se of neck restraints or similar weaponless control techniques with a potential for serious injury are prohibited (i.e., chokeholds),” according to the suit.

According to the sheriff’s office, Josh died at the Monroe County Hospital, WMAZ reported.