Man Who Could Not Pay $100 Bail Starved To Death In Jail, Family Sues. Why The Treatment?

Chibuzo Nwachuku

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Larry Eugene Price Jr. and the solitary confinement cell where he was till his deathPhoto byErik Heipt

A family filed a lawsuit against a jail facility for the fatal negligence of a 51-year-old man with mental health issues who was placed in a solitary confinement cell where he stayed for a bit over a year because he could not pay the $100 bail. According to the lawsuit, the facility neglected his care and never fed him.

On August 19, 2020, Larry Eugene Price Jr then 50 who was homeless, had mental illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and PTSD, and had an IQ under 55, wandered into the Arkansas police station and hung around, which he did almost everyday. He was later arrested that day for "terroristic threatening in the first degree" after he pretended with his finger to point a gun at officers around the station, threatening and cursing people that were there. According to police reports, Price was no immediate threat. He did not have any real weapon on him. Because there was no way to settle him down or to reason with him, he was arrested and taken to the Sebastian County Detention Center, for inmates from Fort Smith. He appeared before a judge who set bond at $1,000. However just $100 for bail would have set him free. Unfortunately, he was destitute.

Apparently no attention was paid to Price as his mind was lost and his health deteriorated. After a year without care or food, Price was found dead in the solitary confinement cell. He was seen with his eyes widely-opened, his naked body, the corners of his mouth with dried saliva and shriveled feet due to the pool of standing water. His medication was long since taken away from him. It was also determined that he ate his own feces and drank his own urine.

According to the emergency services who tried to resuscitate him, Price weighed just 90 pounds, compared to the 185 pounds he weighed when he got in. However, jail monitors always, even after his death, reported that both the inmate and cell were okay.

His relatives were never allowed to visit him. They were not aware of what was going on with him in jail. His aunt Beverly Ann Releford who still resides in the area tried along with her husband to visit Price. She thought it was because of COVID. She also heard that Price had to write her name as 'visitor' which she believed he could not do due to his "mental and physical state". The brother Rodney chose not to bail him out because he thought the jail would house, feed him, and might get him the psychiatric help he needed. He denied ever being told anything about his brother. Source: https://www.newsweek.com/2023/01/20/starved-death-american-jail-man-who-couldnt-pay-100-bail-1773459.html

The actions of the police and the detention center were disgusting and despicable. Larry Price was mentally unable to do what he pretended to do. He was homeless and had mental issues. He needed psychiatric help. The police chose to arrest him instead. What kind of police department would do that? He belonged in a psychiatric hospital, not a detention center. Also, the detention center is full of vile people. Price was left without his medications. He was never fed. They intentionally left him to die which was why they never let anyone visit him. He relied on his own waste. It doesn't make sense for a person in such a condition to be held for a year in solitary confinement without ever being tried. This man was mentally not capable of handling anything. It doesn't sound to me like the family of Price were allowed to be at his court appearance. The brother made a dumb decision and probably knew about the bail. What do you think about the deadly treatment?

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