94°F
weather icon Clear

Family lawsuit says jailer left inmate hanging from bedsheet

GRUNDY CENTER, Iowa — A central Iowa county is paying $500,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleges a man who died after tying a bedsheet around his neck was left hanging for 13 minutes while a jailer who discovered what happened stood outside.

The lawsuit filed against Grundy County by relatives of Jared Slinker said any chance for lifesaving efforts was delayed because the county staffed just one employee to work as both communications dispatcher and jail supervisor. The lawsuit filed after the January 2016 incident said safety rules prohibited the employee from entering Slinker’s cell until another employee arrived.

Slinker was “extremely gifted, had a great relationship with his kids, but had his demons and was challenged,” his father, Earl Slinker, told The Des Moines Register .

The 26-year-old had told jail staff he was delusional and a drug user when he was booked into jail on a contempt-of-court charge two days before his death, according to the lawsuit. Family members said they and Slinker’s doctor told jail staff about his suicidal behavior, but he was booked into jail as a general inmate — no suicide watch.

Grundy County Sheriff Rick Penning told the newspaper that no major changes have been made since Jared Slinker’s death to the jail’s staffing or intake policies.

State law lets Iowa jails operate with a single jail supervisor who doubles as a dispatcher. But civil and workers’ rights advocates have said such staffing can make it difficult to protect human life and exposes counties to legal liabilities.

“It’s not an open-and-shut case,” the sheriff said. “We only average two inmates a day. It would be cost-prohibitive to have a jail staff and a dispatch staff.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
US wasted no time getting El Chapo to supermax prison

A lawyer says authorities have wasted no time in sending the convicted Mexican drug lord known as El Chapo to an ultra-high-security prison where he will serve a life sentence.

House-approved $15 minimum wage has little chance in Senate

House Democrats approved legislation Thursday to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in a decade, to $15 an hour, but the bill has almost no chance in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Rural Ohio county staggers from impact of opioid influx

The numbers are staggering: An average yearly total of 107 opioid pills per resident were distributed over a seven-year period in this rural county deep in Appalachia.

G-7 finance chiefs issue stark warning about Facebook’s Libra

Finance chiefs from the Group of Seven rich democracies issued a stark warning on Thursday that cryptocurrencies like Facebook’s Libra should not be allowed before “serious regulatory and systemic concerns” are put in check.