A recently released video (below) contains shocking footage of Douglas Edminsten dying July 7, 2016, in the Cibola County Detention Center in Grants, New Mexico.
Edminsten was vomiting and defecating blood, and begged the guards to take him to a hospital, but the prison workers allowed him to suffer seven hours longer until he finally died, according to KOB4.
Other inmates were so concerned that at one point they formed a prayer circle and read Bible verses to Edminsten.
The lawsuit filed by Edminsten's family asserts that a jail medic came to the scene at 5 a.m, and declared Edminsten dead -- except he wasn't actually dead, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.
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Another medical staff member checked Edminsten's pulse about 20 minutes later, found he was still alive and called an ambulance, but it was too late, according to the lawsuit.
Edminsten suffered from cirrhosis, which causes problems with the liver and blood clotting, placing people in danger of bleeding to death.
The Edminsten family's lawyer, Glenn Valdez, told the New Mexican about the prison's alleged legal strategy:
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They are trying to make this out as if he died from a terminal illness, and that’s not the truth. This is not some guy who was on death’s door from his medical condition. This is a guy who had a medical emergency, and they didn't help him. He was throwing up blood, and they didn't help him.
Valdez described the video of Edminsten's death to KOB4:
It made me sick to my stomach. I’m watching somebody die right in front of my eyes... We know that the inmates and everyone else were trying to get help, and nothing happened. He couldn't call himself, he couldn't get a hold of an ambulance, he couldn't do anything that we take for granted. So without the guards to call, he’s dead.
According to an autopsy, Edminsten suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his stomach, his abdomen filled with blood and he bled out.
"I think it was a financial decision that they didn't want to pay to transport him to a hospital," Valdez told the news station.
The New Mexican reported another disturbing detail: Edminsten was scheduled to be released the day he ended up vomiting blood. He'd spent about three weeks behind bars for three outstanding warrants related to misdemeanor traffic offenses. While locked up, one of his offenses was dismissed and a second was adjudicated, and he was sentenced to seven days in jail -- time he had already served.
The bondsman who posted his bail, however, withdrew the bond with no reason given, and ultimately left Edminsten to wait behind bars until his court date. That decision turned out to be his death sentence.
County officials would not reveal much to KOB4 because of the family's lawsuit, but did mention that the jail policies were under review. As of now, no changes have been made.
The Cibola County manager told the news station that there was an external investigation, but he refused to release details.
According to the Cibola Beacon, the jail was bought in 1998 by the Corrections Corporation of America, a for-profit private prison company that has run into numerous problems and lawsuits in the past; the company changed its name to CoreCivic in 2016.
The New York Times reported in 2010 about deaths of immigrants in a Corrections Corporation of America prison in Eloy, Arizona.
The Associated Press noted in 2013 that Corrections Corporation of America admitted that its employees at the Idaho Correctional Center had falsified almost 4,800 hours of staffing records.
The FBI launched an investigation into Corrections Corporation of America in 2014 over the Idaho prison, which was so violent that it was called the "Gladiator School" by inmates, according to the AP.
Despite the name change to CoreCivic, the private prison company was in the news again in April when the Justice Department's Inspector General released an audit that accused CoreCivic and the U.S. Marshals Service of being severely understaffed and blasted poor management at the Leavenworth Detention Center in Kansas from 2010 to 2015, noted Mother Jones.
Sources: KOB4, The Washington Post, Santa Fe New Mexican, Cibola Beacon, The New York Times, Associated Press via Oregon Live, Associated Press via US News, Mother Jones / Photo Credit: dponcho/Flickr, Bmwrider1/Wikimedia Commons, Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia Commons