lawsuit

By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 11/12/15 – 12:34 PM PST |

The parents of a developmentally disabled Ontario man, beaten to death by his cell mate at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against San Bernardino County and the captain of the jail.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Riverside by Deandra Thomas and Rashad Davis Sr. on behalf of their 19-year-old son, Rashad Davis Jr., names as defendants the county and West Valley commander Capt. Jeff Rose. It alleges staff at the jail failed to protect Rashad Davis Jr. from repeated attacks by inmates and house him in a proper unit conducive to his medical needs.

A judge even inquired about Davis Jr.’s apparent physical injuries during his arraignment, according to the lawsuit.

“The presence of visible injuries should have put WVDC’s (West Valley Detention Center’s) staff on notice that (Rashad Davis Jr.) was being physically abused at that facility,” according to the lawsuit. “However, WVDC failed to take action to prevent the further physical abuse that ultimately led to decedent’s death.”

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges jail staff were “inadequately trained to properly evaluate and classify inmates for appropriate housing assignments, to accommodate disabilities. and to provide adequate security for developmentally disabled inmates such as decedent in general.”

The lawsuit also noted that roughly 30 days prior to Rashad Davis Jr. being booked at the jail, there had been another incident at the jail in which a violent inmate assaulted his cell mate.

Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller said Thursday the department had not yet been served with the lawsuit and declined comment.

“It’s very important to the family that this does not happen to someone else,” said Dale K. Galipo, the attorney representing Davis’ parents in the litigation. “They don’t want to see someone else’s loved one die in a similar situation.”

He said he believes he will show that the actions and inactions of the deputies at the jail was the direct cause of Davis Jr.’s death.

“We’re hoping to get justice both in terms of fair compensation for the family and a change in policy, if necessary, to make sure that somebody who is very vulnerable is not put in a position to suffer serious harm or death at West Valley Detention Center.”

Davis Jr. was beaten to death by his 22-year-old cell mate Jeremiah Bell on May 22. Deputies found Davis laying on the floor of his cell, unresponsive, about 10 a.m. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

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