Two Former Louisiana Supervisory Correctional Officers Sentenced for Civil Rights Offense Arising Out of the Dying of an Inmate | OPA

Two Louisiana men, former prison guards, were sentenced today to five years in prison and over four years in prison for deliberately indifferent to an inmate’s serious medical needs.

As a result of this civil rights violation, 19-year-old Nimali Henry died on April 1, 2014 in custody at St. Bernard Parish Prison (SBPP). Henry died after not receiving medical treatment for her rare blood disease and other illnesses during the ten days she was incarcerated.

Former SBPP captain Andre Dominick, 61, from New Orleans was sentenced to five years in prison. Dominick previously pleaded guilty to violating Henry’s civil rights under the color of the law. When Dominick pleaded guilty, he admitted that he knew Henry had serious medical needs that required medication. Dominick admitted that he had reviewed Henry’s written request for help, in which she wrote that there was a 90% chance she would die if she did not continue with the medical treatment her doctor ordered. Dominick also spoke to Henry about her health; spoke to Henry’s social worker, who confirmed her medical needs; and watched Henry’s physical condition deteriorate while she was in jail. Despite knowing Henry’s plight, Dominick, who also served as the medical officer during Henry’s incarceration, did not take reasonable steps to provide her with the medical care she needed, as he was required by law to do.

Former SBPP NCO Timothy Williams, 41, from New Orleans was sentenced to 57 months in prison. Williams also previously pleaded guilty to violating Henry’s civil rights under the color of the law. In his confession of guilt, Williams admitted that he knew from his conversations with Henry and her fellow inmates that Henry had serious illnesses that required medication. Williams also personally watched Henry as she got sick while in prison. Williams, however, did not take reasonable steps to provide Henry with the necessary medical care for her serious medical needs, as the law required of him. In his factual basis, Williams went on to admit that he did not provide medical care to Henry, but rather placed Henry in a cell normally reserved for ill-behaved inmates to prevent them from filing future medical complaints. He also told Henry’s fellow inmates to stop asking for help on Henry’s behalf.

“Nimali Henry’s death was not the result of neglect or misjudgment. Her death was the slow, painful, and utterly preventable result of the deliberate decisions of these defendants, who everyone knew had a constitutional duty to provide medical care to a young woman who was entirely in her care during her time “Said Pamela S. Karlan, Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Civil Rights at the Ministry of Justice. “Prosecuting proofreaders who willfully violate their constitutional responsibilities is a critical part of the ministry’s mission.”

“The protection of all civil rights of our citizens is an integral part of our constitution,” said US attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “The violation of these claims, especially in this case by the prison officers sworn in to protect the rights of inmates, undermines public confidence in our prison system. The public must be able to trust that prison officials are honestly performing their duties and are honest in the course of federal investigations or that they face the consequences of their actions. Our office will work with the Department of Justice, the FBI, state and local law enforcement agencies to continue investigating and prosecuting violations of our citizens’ civil rights. “

“Captain Andre Dominick and Corporal Timothy Williams were responsible for the welfare of the inmates at St. Bernard Parish Prison.” said the special agent in charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office, Bryan A. Vorndran. “It is the duty of correctional officers to ensure that inmates are protected and not abused or neglected. Your actions are a disgrace to all correctional officers who act ethically and continue to maintain high moral standards in our correctional facilities. Because of the choices each defendant made, Nimali Henry did not get the care and attention she needed to address her known medical conditions, which ultimately led to her death. The FBI New Orleans Field Office is grateful for its partnerships with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. We continue to work to protect the rights of all Americans, including those in prison. “

On March 10, two former SBBP MPs, Lisa Vaccarella and Debra Becnel, were convicted of their roles in covering up the circumstances surrounding Henry’s death.

This case was being investigated by the FBI and jointly pursued by litigator Christine M. Siscaretti of the Civil Rights Division and US assistant attorneys Chandra Menon and Tracey N. Knight for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

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