Major Nancy Evans, the former commander of Milwaukee County Jail, and two of her staffers have been charged in the death of Terrill Thomas, an inmate who was in their custody, reported the Journal Sentinel.
Thomas, 38, died of dehydration in April 2016 after he was deprived of water for seven days while in solitary confinement.
Evans was charged with felony misconduct in office and obstructing an officer. Jail Lieutenant Kashka Meadors and correctional officer James Ramsey-Guy were both charged with neglecting an inmate.
“Defendant Evans' course of conduct during the investigation into Mr. Thomas' death, of withholding information from her superiors, lying to her supervisors, failing to preserve evidence, repeatedly lying to law enforcement investigators and lying at the inquest, constituted misconduct in public office,” read the charging documents.
During an inquest prosecutors focused on four days’ worth of missing surveillance footage and Evans' conflicting statements during the investigation.
Thomas was moved from one cell to another because he purposely caused a flood. When he arrived to the new cell, Meadors ordered the water supply cut. According to her testimony, during the inquest, the water was to be restored once Thomas “settled down.”
Meadors went on to say she was assured, by other officers, the situation had been handled before she finished her shift. “I was under the impression that it was taken care of, and as well, I briefed my supervisor,” she testified.
Ramsey-Guy testified that he only turned off the cold water and expected another officer to log the shut-off, but when investigators went into the cell, the whole system was off. According to other officers at the jail, the shut-off was improperly recorded, so no one else at the facility knew Thomas didn’t have access to water, ABC 15 reported.
“I was the one that turned the water off, so the officer at the desk was the one who was supposed to log it,” said Ramsey-Guy. The desk officer, John Weber, said he was unaware of who issued the shut-off order.
However, Evans did know and she tampered with video evidence to cover up the jail's involvement in Thomas' death. It was revealed she lied to her superiors about the incident and about the tape.
"Her lies obstructed our efforts to determine the facts surrounding Mr. Thomas' death," the complaint said.
All three involved in his death will appear in court later this week. If convicted, they each face more than three years in prison and $10,000 in fines.