The case of an inmate who died after being deprived of urgent medical attention at Yamhill County Jail just took an unexpected turn as a disturbing video showing his last hours was released.
The Oregon jail saw a tragedy unfold in May 2015. Jed Myers, who was 34 at the time of his death, was in custody for parole violation. According to a spokesperson for his estate, during his last night in jail, staff “acted with a conscious disregard for Mr. Myers' right to life.”
A few hours before his life ended, Myers was brutally beaten by two fellow inmates. Deputies found him “sweaty and panting,” and complaining about pain in his chest. In an interview with the defense, a deputy recalled Myers touching his stomach when he was asked where it hurt. When they noticed Myers also had a head injury, guards decided to take him to a cell in the medical unit.
A witness who saw deputies escorting Myers to the medical cell said in an interview, “He had to stop and, like, he was holding his side and he had to lean up against a wall... And they were, like, ‘Can you sit down?’ and he was, like, ‘Oh, it hurts, I'm in pain,’ like, he was, like, screaming.”
A medical technician actually went in to examine Myers, but didn't do much more than taking his pulse, which was accelerated. The technician said Myers was sweaty and commented, “you can't fake being sweaty.”
Video from the medical unit shows Myers getting up from the bed, likely in excruciating pain, to press an intercom button to call for help. But nobody came. In fact, one deputy confessed it is common practice to silence intercoms when inmates appear overly “needy.”
Myers eventually urinated blood, but when deputies saw it, they inexplicably dismissed it as red-colored food. Recounting the events, Deputy Kiera Downs said, “It was very watery. It was water but it was red. That was kind of odd to me and I asked the sergeant what we have in the food that's red and he said, 'Kool-Aid.'”
Deputies had found Myers beaten up around 7:30 PM. Around 12:30 AM, Myers’ head slumped forward. When the deputies went in, they realized he was dead. The official cause of death was blunt force abdominal trauma which caused severe internal bleeding; Myers also had a brain injury, and multiple fractures.
Joshua Mulbreght and Zachary Chronister, the inmates responsible for beating Myers, have already been convicted of manslaughter. But Myers’ family believes jail medical neglect played a central role in his death. His estate is now suing Yamhill County, jail guards, and medical staff, seeking $12 million in damages. Myers was survived by his 3-year-old daughter.
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