Carter County Sheriff’s Office employees were deliberately indifferent to the medical needs of a mentally ill man who died while in the jail’s custody, according to a federal lawsuit.
Shortly before he died in November 2015, Michael Manos, 44, was found covered in his own feces in a soiled cell.
Jeanne Bennett, Manos’ mother and administrator of his estate, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in the Eastern District of Oklahoma that alleges the former Carter County sheriff and jail employees violated Manos’ civil rights when they failed to provide supervision, proper medications and medical care.
Tulsa attorney Dan Smolen, whose law firm has filed several civil lawsuits against jails across the state, is representing Bennett.
Former Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony is listed as a defendant in the lawsuit in his individual capacity, along with a sergeant and eight sheriff’s deputies. The current sheriff is listed in his official capacity.
The former sheriff was charged in June 2016 with receiving a bribe and sexual battery for groping a female employee, both felonies, which he later pleaded guilty to.
Messages seeking comment left at a phone number and an email listed under Anthony’s name were not returned on Wednesday. Messages left at the Carter County Sheriff’s Office seeking comment were also not returned. Defendants have not yet filed a response to the complaint.
If Manos would have had supervision, had been on the proper medicine and had adequate medical care, he wouldn’t have died, the lawsuit alleges. Manos allegedly didn’t get a proper mental health or physical health screening.
“Mr. Manos spent his final weeks laying on the floor of an isolated cell moaning and grumbling to himself,” the complaint says. “At least a week before his death, Mr. Manos stopped eating food.”
The lawsuit alleges Manos, who had several physical and mental health problems, spent weeks immobilized on his cell floor.
A report from paramedics who responded to the incident in the jail states they were told Manos wasn’t taking his medicine. He was screaming for about 20 minutes before he was found unresponsive in his cell.
The Medical Examiner’s report shows Manos died from a condition caused by a blood clot. The exam found no traces of residue from medication in Manos’ stomach.
Manos was booked into Carter County jail on Oct. 23, 2015, on charges of assault and battery on a police officer and EMT.
On Nov. 7, 2015, Carter County deputy Brantley Maxson reported he found Manos in his cell unresponsive and nudged Manos with his foot before he continued to pass out medication to other inmates, according to jail incident reports obtained by The Frontier.
“During this time, when I asked him if he wanted his meds, his chest was barely moving and I couldn’t get a verbal response from him,” Maxson wrote in the report. “At this time I tapped his foot a few with my shoe and I saw his chest rise a few times. I asked him one more time if he wanted his meds and he wouldn’t answer.”
Afterward, Maxson told deputy Joshua Adam about Manos’ state, according to incident reports. The two deputies returned to Manos’ cell and discovered he had no pulse.
Afterward, Maxson alerted his sergeant, Ryan Collier, while another deputy, Corbin Whitener, called an ambulance.
In an incident report, Whitener said when he arrived at Manos’ cell to start chest compressions, he found the man lying partially underneath his bunk. Whitener and two other deputies took turns doing chest compressions until paramedics arrived, Whitener wrote.
When paramedics arrived, jail staff told them Manos had been refusing to take his medication, according to the medics’ prehospital care report obtained by The Frontier. Deputies also told medics Manos had been screaming on the floor 20 minutes prior to him being found unresponsive.
As the paramedics arrived at Manos’ cell, a deputy was rushing out of the cell gagging and almost vomited, the report states.
Manos and the cell were covered in feces, the reports says, and no CPR was being performed at the time. Deputies told medics they were in the middle of switching partners.
Medics couldn’t insert a tube into Manos’ airway because a large amount of feces was blocking it, the medics’ report states. Manos had a history of eating his own feces during psychotic episodes.
In the incident report, Adam said he had seen Manos earlier that day and that he was “acting the same as he had been the last couple of weeks.”
“He was laying on the floor, growling and mumbling to himself,” Adam wrote.
The incident reports from the three deputies make no mention of Manos screaming or being covered in feces.
Manos was in a “manic psychotic” state and couldn’t fully understand his physical and mental health conditions, the suit states.
The suit alleges jail employees knew Manos wasn’t getting his medication, wasn’t eating, was immobile and was in a psychotic state during his time in the jail.
Bennett allegedly was told the jail wouldn’t be giving Manos his medication and when she tried to bring the medicine to the jail, she was told unopened medicine had to be sent through her son’s doctor, the lawsuit states.
Emergency responders left with Manos nearly five hours after he was first found mostly unresponsive, “in a rapidly declining state,” and almost an hour after he was discovered to be completely unresponsive, the federal lawsuit alleges.
Manos was pronounced dead at an Ardmore hospital upon arrival, according to the lawsuit. Paramedics reported Manos was in cardiac arrest when they first encountered him.
The Medical Examiner’s report shows Manos died from pulmonary embolism — a condition caused by a blood clot.
Manos received counseling and medication to treat his bipolar disorder up until he went into the jail’s custody, according to the suit.
He previously was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following incidents that happened in the Carter County jail earlier that year, the lawsuit alleges.
While Manos was in the emergency room in February 2015, he said in the time he was in the jail’s custody, he was not getting his medication and was being physically abused by deputies, the suit alleges. He had several cuts, bruises and fractures, and was in a “fragile psychological state.”
Manos restarted his medications and therapy that month and was stable and not in psychosis, the suit states. But when he died, he hadn’t been on his medication for weeks prior.
“There is a pattern and practice within the CCSO of falsifying, or omitting material facts from, jail records, reports and other documents to cover up CCSO employee’s overall disregard for inmates’ health and safety,” the lawsuit says.