Unsanitary conditions and staff negligence caused the death of a 27-year-old man in a South Carolina jail earlier this year, a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges.
Richland County officials sent Lason Butler — who displayed “erratic behavior” — to a room at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center where he frequently lay naked with an unflushed toilet and was placed on suicide watch — even though they knew the unit was unfit for inmates with mental health issues, according to the lawsuit.
After a two-week period during which Butler lost more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and was assessed to be “floridly psychotic,” he was found dead on Feb. 12 with fresh rat bites and no running water, the lawsuit alleges.
An autopsy report showed Butler died of dehydration. The Richland County coroner ruled Butler’s death a homicide, noting a “lack of action” by the jail staff. At the time of his death, Butler was the third detainee to die this year, the coroner said.
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