DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Channel 2 Action News has learned of a recent inmate death in the DeKalb County jail days ahead of a second round of protests alleging inmate abuse. The attorney representing the inmate’s family said he was ignored in his final days and his death was preventable.
“If at any point during those four to five days, if he had the opportunity to get the appropriate level of medical care, he would be here today,” said attorney Justin Spizman. ”It was just a coincidence that (protesters) were picketing to prevent a death that had already occurred.”
Spizman said Clarence Manning was in perfect health in mid-February. That’s when he was booked into the jail. At the time, he was taking medication for hypertension, but the 64-year-old didn’t have major issues, his family said.
By May 11, Manning was dead. Inmates are providing witness statements to investigators and the Manning family legal team, which believes Manning’s blood pressure was the only thing checked as he displayed sudden, troubling symptoms of illness in his final days.
“He was unable to walk at one point in time," Spizman said. “He was unable to get out of bed at one point in time. The last two days of his life, he was not able to eat at all. At one point, he was throwing up bowel.”
“We were told by some of the inmates that the medical unit shared with him they thought he was faking it,” Spizman continued. “To the point where one of the jailers made a comment like, ‘What do you expect me to do?'”
Manning was laid to rest Thursday.
His death is under investigation by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Spizman said, and the medical examiner’s report has not been completed.
Sheriff Jeff Mann declined to talk about the case earlier in the week, citing the active investigation. He spoke earlier in the week about his willingness to investigate claims of alleged abuse if his office receives formal complaints.
“This sadly wasn’t a situation where it was the neglect of the DeKalb County jail,” Spizman said. “It was outright the reckless conduct of the DeKalb County jailers that caused this death. This was a preventable loss of life.”
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