Jailers Took Pictures of Young Man Who Hanged Himself in His Cell While He Was Still Alive, Father Alleges
Jailers in a St. Louis suburb left a man hanging in his cell to get a camera and take photos of him while he was still alive, the late man's father claims in court.
John Hogan sued the City of Pine Lawn, a city of 4,000, in St. Louis County Court.
He also sued its Mayor Sylvester Caldwell, Police Chief Rickey Collins and city jail employees Jeff Thomas and Charles Hubbard.
Hogan's son, Antonie Jones, was arrested and taken to the city jail in August 2009.
"Defendants Caldwell, Collins, Thomas and Hubbard, and each of them knew, understood, were advised, and appreciated that Antonie Jones needed mental health medication, which they were unable to provide for, and Mr. Jones further needed transfer to an appropriate medical facility to prevent suicide," the father says in the lawsuit.
"Defendants Caldwell, Collins, Thomas and Hubbard, and each of them, were deliberately indifferent to the serious medical needs of Mr. Jones and ignored his obvious need for medical help and instead incarcerated Antonie Jones, without precautions, in a cell in the City of Pine Lawn jail without needed medication or mental health treatment."
Hogan claims that Thomas found Jones hanging in his cell on Aug. 29, and "assumed that Jones was dead."
The complaint continues: "While Antonie Jones was still alive and hanging in his cell, defendant Thomas left Mr. Jones hanging by his neck to alert others.
"Defendant Thomas notified defendant Hubbard, who delayed in assisting Antonie Jones by first calling an ambulance and looking for and retrieving a camera before assisting Mr. Jones.
"Before removing Mr. Jones from his hanging position, defendant Hubbard took pictures of Mr. Jones.
"Antonie Jones was not dead on the morning of August 29 when he was observed by defendant Thomas and defendant Hubbard and when pictures were taken of him hanging by his neck in the cell.
"Defendants Thomas and Hubbard were deliberately indifferent to the obvious serious medical need of Antonie Jones when they left him hanging by his neck in his cell while he was alive and for a considerable period of time.
"At that time and place, as alleged above, Antonie Jones was in dire need of immediate medical care and treatment to prevent his death by affixation and hanging and defendants, and each of them failed to meet Antonie Jones' medical needs."
Hogan claims his son was still alive when EMT ambulance workers finally took him down. He died on the way to the hospital, the father says.
Hogan says his son's death can be attributed to Pine Lawn's cost-cutting of its jail budget.
"The actions and indifference of defendants, and each of them, as it related to Antonie Jones was a custom, policy, practice, and procedure of the City of Pine Lawn and its jail in staffing and employing severely undertrained and non-qualified employees, at a cheap rate, and further failing to train such employees and thus failing to provide incarcerated prisoners with appropriate care, treatment, and medication," the complaint states.
Pine Lawn officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Hogan seeks punitive damages for constitutional violations.
He is represented by Gregory G. Fenlon, of the St. Louis Lawyers Group, in Clayton.