An Alabama man, Anthony “Tony” Mitchell, died of hypothermia after being held in a cold area or a walk-in freezer by jail guards in Walker County, according to a lawsuit filed by his family.
Mitchell suffered from addiction, mental health issues, and physical health problems. He was arrested on January 12. While in custody, he was tased, stripped naked, and placed in a frigid environment as punishment, alleges the suit.
Jail officials allegedly refused to give him medical treatment, and Mitchell died on January 26 after being found with no pulse and agonal respirations of 2-4 breaths per minute.
The suit further alleges that more than a dozen jail officials abused Mitchell and conspired to cover up the mistreatment. The family’s lawyer, Jon Goldfarb, described it as the “worst case of inmate abuse” he had ever seen.
A Walker County Sheriff’s official had promised to help Mitchell while in jail, but the lawsuit speculates that he was housed naked due to the facility’s suicide watch policy.
While an autopsy has not been released, the lawsuit claims that it was clear that Mitchell’s death was wrongful and the result of “horrific, malicious abuse and mountains of deliberate indifference.”
One corrections department official reportedly preserved footage of Mitchell’s alleged mistreatment, and a guard who shared videos of the abuse was terminated and has also filed a lawsuit.