Tulsa County commissioners authorize settlement without admitting liability in former Tulsa Jail inmate’s death

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Tulsa County commissioners have authorized a settlement in the jail death case of Nathan Bradshaw.

Tulsa County commissioners have authorized a $150,000 settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of a former Tulsa Jail inmate who attempted to hang himself last year, county records show.

Nathan Bradshaw was arrested March 8, 2016, and attempted to hang himself March 13, 2016, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office said. He died a few days later in a Tulsa hospital.

Bradshaw had been arrested on a bench warrant for failing to appear in court on a larceny charge.

A resolution that appears on Monday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting agenda authorizes the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office to “confess judgment without admitting liability.”

The judgment in the case will be purchased by Tulsa County Employees Retirement Fund, records show. The Employees Retirement System of Tulsa County often purchases judgments against the county. In those instances, the party awarded the judgment immediately receives full payment from the retirement system.

The county then pays the judgment amount, plus interest, to the retirement system over three years. The county pays judgments out of its sinking fund, which is funded through property taxes.

The Frontier sued Sheriff Vic Regalado and the Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority last year after a request to view jail surveillance footage from outside Bradshaw’s cell was denied. The Frontier sought to confirm whether Bradshaw’s jail pod was appropriately checked by jail detention officers.

Nathan Bradshaw. Courtesy

The Sheriff’s Office claimed the video did not fall under Oklahoma’s Open Records Act.

“As per your request regarding the Bradshaw case, jail surveillance video is not subject to open record requests per Oklahoma State Statutes,” states an email from a TCSO spokeswoman.

Bradshaw is one of at least 30 people who have died in Tulsa’s jail (or shortly after being transported from the jail to a hospital), according to an analysis by The Frontier.

The Frontier reviewed records from the state jail inspector, the state Medical Examiner’s Office and other sources to put together the database.

Experts and medical records state that at least 10 of the 30 deaths could potentially have been prevented with proper medical and mental health care. The number could be higher, as several inmate deaths resulted in claims or lawsuits being quickly settled by the jail’s medical provider before detailed records were produced.

Bradshaw’s case
Bradshaw’s final arrest report lacks detail, offering up just two sentences: “Subject located, warrant revealed and confirmed. Subject arrested, transported and booked.”

The warrant he was booked on was from a 2014 felony charge for grand larceny. Bradshaw had already pleaded guilty to the charge — he was arrested for stealing textbooks from Tulsa Community College to sell on Craigslist — and been given a five-year suspended sentence.

But court records show he may have fallen back into old patterns. He was arrested again and his suspended sentence was revoked about six months later after he allegedly stole textbooks again, this time from the University of Tulsa.

In October 2015, Bradshaw was placed in drug court, an alternative sentencing method used to get nonviolent criminals treatment rather than incarcerating them. Later that month, he was released from the program under standard rules and conditions, such as no use of drugs or alcohol, no possessing a firearm, and a requirement that he wear a GPS ankle monitor.

But he did not show up to his next court appearance in November, and a warrant was again issued for his arrest. The warrant remained active until he was jailed for the final time.

The Sheriff’s Office and Tulsa County commissioners declined to comment on the settlement Friday.

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Dylan Goforth

Editor in Chief/Staff Writer

Dylan is a news junkie and QuikTrip addict. He spends too much time on Twitter, but has launched what will be a failed attempt to cut back in 2018. Contact: dylan@readfrontier.com or 918-931-9405.
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