Family of mentally ill man who died in Cobb jail files lawsuit

Reginal Wilson suffered from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, according to his family. He died of dehydration at the Cobb jail on Dec. 29, 2018. (Courtesy of Monica Peltier)

The family of a mentally ill man who died of dehydration in the Cobb jail has filed a wrongful death suit against Sheriff Neil Warren and others involved in the man's care.

The complaint alleges that Reginald Wilson, 54, was never assessed by the jail psychiatrist during his nine-day incarceration, despite showing obvious signs of psychosis — smearing his own feces and failing to eat or drink.

“The Defendants entirely failed to provide him with adequate supervision or care during this time,” the complaint reads. “Instead, they merely documented his downward spiral until his death.”

Wilson was found dead in his cell on Dec. 29, 2018.

A spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office wrote in an email: “It is our practice to not comment on pending lawsuits.”

The medical examiner, Christopher Gulledge, determined that Wilson died of “dehydration due to bipolar disorder.”

“During the period of time reviewed on camera, the decedent’s activity level slowly and gradually diminished,” Gulledge wrote.

Wilson was last seen moving by guards the morning of his death, according to the medical examiner’s investigative report.

“At that time, he was unclothed lying on the floor in feces and would move around some, but would not look up when the glass was tapped,” the report reads. Fifteen minutes later, Wilson was found unresponsive and later declared dead.

In addition to “acts and omissions” in medical care, the family has also accused the Sheriff’s Office of stonewalling by illegally withholding documents that should be subject to state open records laws.

“Defendants have acted in bad faith, have been stubbornly litigious, and/or have caused Plaintiff unnecessary trouble and expense,” the complaint reads.

The family is seeking more than $10,000 in damages.

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