Keaton Farris was arrested and jailed in March after cashing a stolen check for $350. During his 13-day-long imprisonment, the 25-year-old was denied medical treatment, medication for his bipolar disorder, and even water.
On April 7, Farris was found dead in his cell at Island County Jail in Coupeville. An autopsy revealed his cause of death to be dehydration and malnourishment.
The water in his cell had reportedly been shut off, as he had been classified as a “crisis inmate” who posed a threat to staff or himself, and jail staff allegedly did not want him to flood his cell.
It was determined that Farris had only been given 185 ounces of water during his imprisonment, far below the 1,563 ounces recommended for this time span by the National Institutes of Health, and even less than the 791 ounces that the Federal Emergency Management Agency guidelines state would have been required for survival in emergency situations.
Farris was moved around to three different jails over the course of six days due to open warrants, before ultimately landing at Island County.
The man’s family is seeking criminal charges against jailers who denied him water and medical treatment, explaining that his rights under the Eighth Amendment were violated during his imprisonment.
So far, two deputies who have been accused of falsifying records have resigned, while two others have been placed on leave, Raw Story reported.
A call to action has been put out on a website dedicated to seeking justice for his death. The site urges people to write to the county prosecutor demanding charges be filed against those involved in Farris’ death, and asks people to hand out water bottles with an attached print-out telling Farris’ story, among other actions.