A mentally ill inmate whose baby died after jailers laughed at her and ignored her requests for medical attention when her water broke is suing the Milwaukee County Jail where three other people have died since April.
Shade Swayzer is suing for $8.5 million, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who is reportedly being considered to head the Department of Homeland Security in President-Elect Donald Trump’s administration, supervises the jail.
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office released a statement just days after the baby’s death denying responsibility, saying Swayzer’s baby was stillborn and that she never told jail staff she was even going into labor.
But Swayzer says her child was “born alive, cried profusely and was breastfed.”
Jason Jankowski, an attorney for Swayzer, said his client was eight-and-a-half months pregnant when she was taken into custody for a probation violation and that she was taken for a medical examination prior to being book into the jail.
After the examination, Swayzer was placed in the special needs unit at the jail, given prenatal vitamins just one time, and neglected medical attention for several days.
Jankowski filed a notice on behalf of Swayzer claiming that in the early morning of July 14, she informed an unnamed jailer that her water had broke and that she was going into labor.
But the jailer laughed at and ignored her calls for medical attention.
A jailer making a routine unit inspection in the Special Needs section found Swayzer holding her baby
Records show Swayzer gave birth at around 4 a.m. and wasn’t seen by medical staff until around 6 a.m.
Her baby reportedly died later that day.
The death of her baby comes just after medical examiners ruled inmate Terrill Thomas’ death a homicide after he was denied water and died of dehydration in his jail cell.
Federal and state prosecutors are reviewing Thomas’ death, which is being investigated as a criminal matter by the Milwaukee Police Department.
“There was at least one other inmate, if not two, that became aware that Mr. Thomas’ water had been shut off,” an Erik Heipt an attorney for Thomas’ family told Fox6News.com. “And they were repeatedly urging jail guards to turn the water back on.”
In August, Kristina A Fiebrink, 38, was declared dead in her jail cell after she was found unresponsive after she was arrested for obstructing an officer and resisting arrest.
In October, 29-year-old Michael J. Madden was found dead inside the jail. Madden was arrested on drug charges and theft.
Autopsy results from Madden and Fiebrink’s death have not been released to the public.
Jankowski filed a notice of claim after he submitted repeated open records requests for information regarding Swayzer’s incarceration at the jail, but the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office has not responded.
The three-page notice of claim filed by Swayzer doesn’t contain the name of the officer who ignored Swayzer or any information about the cause of her baby’s death.