Elliot Williams, 37, spent his final days on the floor of a cell in the Tulsa Jail’s medical unit, naked, paralyzed and covered in his own excrement, as guards and other officials ignored his cries for help. The staff also starved and dehydrated him, placing his food and water just out of reach – claiming that they believed he was faking his injury. An autopsy determined that his cause of death was complications of a broken neck with signs of dehydration.
The horrific scene, which occurred in 2011, was captured on the jail surveillance system.
The jury deliberated for 10 hours over two days, eventually determining that Williams’ civil rights were violated, and awarding $10.25 million to the veteran’s estate. The jury ordered payment of $10 million by the Sheriff’s Office and $250,000 by Stanley Glanz personally. Glanz was sheriff when the incident occurred.
“I think that they came to the conclusion that any jury in this case would come to: that Elliott Williams needed justice; his family needed justice. And they have that today, and they can kind of move past this now,” Dan Smolen, an attorney for the Williams estate, told the Tulsa World.
Kevin Williams, Elliot’s brother, is pleased with the jury’s findings, but is still fighting for criminal charges to be filed.
An attorney for the defense has not ruled out appealing the verdict with the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
Williams had been arrested after suffering a “mental breakdown” shortly after he separated from his wife and his mother was diagnosed with cancer. Ultimately, he ended up in a confrontation with officers, during which he was pepper-sprayed and arrested after allegedly attempting suicide-by-cop.
The sheriff’s office has claimed that he “broke his own neck” by bashing his head into the holding cell door.