Four Louisiana correctional officers face life in prison if convicted on charges of violating a inmate’s civil rights in a negligent act that led to a 19-year-old mother’s death.
The Department of Justice reports that the correction officers have been indicted for deliberately failing to arrange medical attention for 19-year-old inmate, Nimali Henry. Ms. Henry died at St. Bernard Parish Prison on April 1, 2014 because she was not given medical attention for a rare blood disorder.
While knowing that Ms. Henry suffered from a life-threatening medical condition, Capt. Andre Dominick, Cpl. Timothy Williams, Deputies Debra Becnel and Lisa Vaccarella are accused of failing to arrange medical attention that could have saved her life. They are also charged with making false statements to the FBI, for which they face an additional five years in prison if convicted.
The Times-Picayune reports that Ms. Henry was arrested on March 21, 2014 for simple battery, unauthorized entry, and disturbing the peace. Ms. Henry was trying to see her 4-month-old daughter at the home of a woman where the child’s father had taken the girl.
According to a Sheriff’s Office report, Ms. Henry entered the other woman’s home without authorization, and “Chelsea Lefebvre, the woman who lived at the house in the 1800 block of Suzi Drive, attempted to push Henry out of the residence ‘because she feared for her safety.’ “
After Ms. Henry was arrested, her bond was set at $25,000. Ms. Henry’s older sister, Deshawna Henry, 20, told the Times-Picayune that their family couldn’t afford that much money.
Ms. Henry was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, people with TTP can bleed inside or outside their body until they get a stroke or brain damage.
Despite the family trying to get Ms. Henry medical attention during the 10 days she was in custody, she was found dead in a isolation cell lying face down at 7:45 am on April 1, 2014.
The officers were investigated by the FBI’s New Orleans Division, and they are being prosecuted in the Eastern District of Louisiana.