After a federal judge refused to kill a lawsuit accusing the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) of deliberate indifference in the April 2015 suicide hanging of a pre-trial, 25-year-old inmate, lawyers for the county have agreed to an undisclosed settlement.
OCSD personnel knew Ryan Hall—a 6-foot-5 and 260 pound native of Bronx, New York—had been suicidal and suffered from schizophrenia after being severely beaten by Crips gangsters years earlier, but failed to provide minimally adequate psychiatric care, according to a lawsuit filed by the decease’s mother, Vilma Germaine-McIver.
A fellow inmate found him hanging by the neck from a bedsheet he’d stuck in his cell door, which was visible to guards.
Hall couldn’t breathe and had no pulse; days later at a local hospital, he was taken off life-support systems after doctors at Western Medical Center concluded he’d endured massive brain damage.
In seeking to end the case before it reached a jury, Orange County officials, who’ve come under fire for lousy jail management during past decades, claimed Hall “was provided with appropriate mental health care and was properly monitored.”
U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney late last year found there had been enough “haphazard” conduct in Hall’s demise that a future jury should determine the validity of OCSD’s stance.
Weeks before his death, Hall had been observed in his cell mentally deteriorating and unkempt as he protested his conditions.
County staff advised him to try breathing exercises for relief, according to OCSD records.
Hall had been in California for two years when the Santa Ana Police Department arrested him in late November 2014 on attempted murder and resisting officers charges.
In custody, he obtained a razor blade days later from another inmate and began slicing his body enough that he required hospitalization.
During that episode, he’d begged deputies, “I want to go to heaven. Please shoot me. I want to die.”
County lawyers pretended those developments came as a surprise because jail intake employees had deemed him only a threat to others as well as a man with reasonable judgment.
The county’s board of supervisors must approve the settlement at a future hearing before it becomes final.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.