HOUSTON (AP) — Six Texas jailers were fired and 29 others suspended after a mentally ill inmate was left unattended and alone in his cell for weeks with insect-infested food containers, a feces-clogged toilet and ropes from his shredded jail uniform hanging from the ceiling.
Among those fired by Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia on Friday were two jail sergeants indicted earlier this month on record-tampering charges for signing off on paperwork stating that Deterrius Rashad Goodwin was in good condition in his second-floor cell in the Harris County Jail.
The jail sergeants, Sgt. Ricky D. Pickens-Wilson and Sgt. John Figaroa, are both free on $5,000 bond. If convicted, each faces from two to 10 years in prison.
Garcia also fired four jail supervisors, and he said the 29 unpaid suspensions range from one to 10 days.
A whistleblower had tipped a sheriff’s office compliance team to Goodwin’s plight last fall and the team found the filthy cell conditions.
Investigators said one reason jail employees gave for Goodwin’s neglect was that he was a “combative inmate,” said Julian Ramirez, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Division chief. Garcia was not persuaded.
“No matter how violent an inmate may be, everyone (on the jail staff) has an obligation to the proper care that an inmate can have,” he said.
A message for Pickens-Wilson’s attorney was not returned, and Figaroa’s attorney declined to comment.
Goodwin was declared incompetent to stand trial and spent time at a mental hospital before returning to court and pleading guilty to assaulting a detention officer. He is serving a three-year sentence in a Dallas-area prison.
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