May 2, 2017
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US jury on Monday recommended that seven jail employees be charged for cutting off water for seven days to an inmate who later died of dehydration.
After deliberating about two hours, the six jurors concluded that there was "probable cause" to charge the seven jail officers, NBC television affiliate WTMJ reported.
The death of Terrill Thomas, 38, dates back to April 24, 2016 in Milwaukee County jail, where he was in the mental health unit.
But stunning details surrounding the inmate's death emerged in hearings held last week before the jury in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Thomas was deprived of water because the guards wanted to punish him for his behavior, according to testimony heard by the jurors.
The man was held at the Milwaukee County jail for opening fire on the highway and in the air in a casino, seriously injuring one person.
He was placed in solitary confinement, which his family says was tantamount to torture.
Since the prisoner would not remain calm, the officers cut the pipes feeding the sink and toilet in his tiny cell.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's investigations, Thomas spent his last days of life begging for water, to no avail.
He lost 16 pounds (seven kilograms) and grew increasingly weaker before dying on the concrete floor of his cell, without a mattress.
Prosecutors are allowed to follow or disregard the jurors' recommendation.
Thomas's death throws a spotlight on Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke. The conservative law enforcement chief is a close supporter of President Donald Trump.