#Tulsa County police officers are under fire after they ignored a man’s cry for help while he laid on the jail floor for over 5 days, dying.
On October 21, 2011, #ElliottWilliams, an army veteran with a history of mental illness, was arrested after having a mental breakdown in Marriott hotel lobby. Williams was with his parents at the time, when he was witnessed mumbling to himself, throwing food, talking loud to God and pulling up grass with his hands. His only true crime was misdemeanor obstruction.
During his arrest, Williams’ father Earl, says that officers forcibly put their knee into his son’s spine. Elliott Williams appeared to struggle to walk, so police lifted him, letting his feet drag, and took him into custody.
At that point, Williams should have been taken to a hospital. Unfortunately, he was never taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries.
When they arrived at the jail’s booking area, officer Jack Wells slammed Williams to the floor to handcuff him, landing on top of Williams’ shoulder and head. According to surveillance cameras which captured the occurrence, Williams struggled after the fall and had a difficult time standing. Williams was then taken to a holding cell where he rammed his head into a glass door and fell to the floor. No one checked on him for over 20 minutes.
In the days that followed, Williams suffered in jail, complaining to anyone who would listen that he was injured and unable to move anything below his neck. Williams had even urinated and defecated on himself, but instead of getting him medical attention, they wrapped him in garbage bags and dragged him into the shower where he lay face down in the water, still unable to move.
For almost six days, Williams was taunted by officers and jail employees who believed he was faking paralyzation. They placed water out of his reach, though Williams was not physically able to get it. Williams’ father was also not allowed contact with his son. “He’s acting like he’s paralyzed, but we know he’s not,” a mental health worker told Williams’s dad, according to court documents. Williams’ condition was mocked. A nurse on staff even told him to “stop faking” and to get his “nasty a*s” in the shower.
When Williams died, his father Earl Williams and family, filed a federal lawsuit against then-Sheriff Stanley Glanz. In 2013, two years after Williams’ death and the suit was filed, the shocking video was made public.
According to Sheriff Glanz’s attorney, Corbin Brewster, there’s no evidence that Williams was denied adequate care and his case was just a case of misdiagnosis.
“Despite medical staff’s incorrect diagnoses of Mr. Williams before his death, the undisputed evidence is that the medical professionals who examined and treated Mr. Williams sincerely believed he was faking paralysis,” Brewster says.
The death of Elliott Williams is a mix of everything Black Lives Matter has been fighting for ever since — a little Eric Garner, a little Sandra Bland. Hopefully Williams’ family gets the justice they deserve.