• Douglas Co. tightens policy after sick inmate dies in jail


    None - Two jail employees have been arrested after a grand jury indicted them in the death of an inmate in their custody.

    "It's the most troubling mistreatment of an inmate I've ever seen in my career," Douglas County District Attorney David McDade told Channel 2’s Tom Jones.

    McDade is talking about 30-year-old Rodney Graham, an inmate who died while being held at the Douglas County jail.

    "He died because he was denied medical treatment that would have easily saved his life," McDade said.

    A grand jury indicted jail medical professionals Stephanie Evans and Kelli Brown on reckless conduct charges in connection with their alleged role in Graham's death.

    McDade said Graham was brought to the Douglas County jail on a probation violation. He said Graham told jail officials he had a life-threatening kidney disease and would die if it was left untreated. McDade said Graham had an episode and his condition was ignored by Evans and Brown.

    The district attorney said jail staff put the man in an isolation cell, treating him as if he was on drugs, reported Jones.  

    "They became convinced that he was a person suffering from withdrawals from or detoxing on a host of drugs," McDade explained.

    He said Graham strongly denied he was on any drugs and Graham's family repeatedly called the jail, even writing an email pleading for the jail to treat Graham's condition or he could die.

    McDade said those pleas were ignored, noting the jail's surveillance cameras recorded Graham suffering alone in his cell.

    "I mean he's wretching, he's throwing up, he's begging for help," McDade told Jones.

    Graham died in his cell days later.

    "There's no question in my mind we dropped the ball," Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller said. 

    Miller called the incident a tragedy and that he felt for Graham and his family.

    Miller said his staff misdiagnosed Graham.  The sheriff also said his staff could have done a better job listening to Graham and his family. He said that's something his staff will do now when an inmate's family calls with medical information.

    "And get them to the right people to make the right kind of decisions," he said. "Cause we're not trained for that."

    The sheriff said he has also changed the medical staff at the jail and jailers must undergo sensitivity training.

    McDade said an autopsy found Graham died from a kidney ailment and found no drugs in his system.

    Graham's family settled with the county for nearly $1 million.

    Miller said he has fired Brown and Evans.

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