Federal lawsuit filed in the Caddo County strangling death of Darius Robinson

Published: Aug. 30, 2016 at 5:51 PM CDT
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ANADARKO, OK (KSWO)- A major lawsuit demanding $75,000,000.00 in damages and also requesting a permanent end to unconstitutional jail operations and training policies in Caddo County was filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, regarding the strangling death of Darius Robinson.

"The strangulation death of Darius Robinson is tragic, savage and speak volumes about justice in Oklahoma and this nation. No jailer has the right to be judge, jury and executioner and deny a prisoner the right to due process a hearing or trial. The legal team assembled on behalf of Darius family is prepared to go the long haul in the fight for justice, not only for Darius but for others who will jailed in the future,"says Attorney Malik Z. Shabazz.

On April 4, Robinson was pronounced dead after jail officials went way too far in restraining Mr. Robinson by using illegal chokeholds and strangling him to death, as the Office of Chief Medical Examiner in Oklahoma City has confirmed. As the lawsuit describes, once jail supervisor Vicki Richardson ordered Robinson 'choked out' by jailer Michael Smith, Robinson was subsequently victimized by positional asphyxia by jail guard Bryan Porter, Anadarko Emergency Services completely failed to render adequate medical care and treatment to Robinson. Darius Robinson was consistently denied proper medical treatment from his arrive at the Caddo County jail.

On July 15, attorney general Jason Hicks failed to achieve an indictment on any charges from an Oklahoma County Grand Jury, a decision that has greatly upset Darrius Robinson's family and friends. Shockingly, jailers Vicki Richardson and Michael Smith are back on duty working at the jail. Local civil rights leaders and Black Lives Matter activists have stated they will not let the issue rest, as the jail has a reputation for wrongdoing against detainees.

The federal civil rights lawsuit and the request for declaratory judgment was filed on behalf of Ancio Robinson, representing the estate of Darius Robinson. The lawsuit includes claims for the deprivation of rights, a request for declaratory judgment against the jail policies as being unconstitutional in order to protect future arrestees against bad use of force policy and unconstitutional medical policies at the Caddo County jail.

Named in the federal lawsuit are:

  • The Board of County Commissioners for Caddo County, Oklahoma. (“Board”) is responsible for providing a jail facility for Caddo County, Oklahoma that is adequate for the safe-keeping of inmates.
  • Lennis Miller, is the incumbent Sheriff of Caddo County, Oklahoma. Miller is responsible for the operational aspects of the CCDC, and the hiring and training of the detention staff employed to work at the facility.
  • Michael Smith, Vicki Richardson, and Bryan Porter, are or were employees of Caddo County, Oklahoma working at the CDC on April 4, 2016.
  • Laroyce Fanning and Ryan Warren were employees of the city of Anadarko, Oklahoma, working as emergency medical personnel with the Anadarko emergency medical service. They responded to the call on April 4, 2016 in response to a call for medical treatment regarding Darius Robinson: Caddo County Government Building Authority is also named in the lawsuit.

The claims charged in the lawsuit are: survival act wrongful death, excessive force, inadequate training and supervision amounting to deliberate indifference, failure to render adequate medical care; failure to render adequate medical care; unconstitutional polices, practices, procedures to withhold medical care, unconstitutional polices, practices, procedures; request for declaratory judgment.

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