Swisher County Sued Over Inmate Death

Published 05/30 2014 09:48PM

Updated 05/30 2014 10:07PM

TULIA -- Swisher county is being sued over the death of an inmate.
    This is the latest in a string of problems for swisher county.

    The family of Terry Lynn Borum filed suit in federal court Thursday claiming the county violated Borum's constitutional rights as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.

    Borum had been arrested on an outstanding warrant in February 2013 and was going through detox at the Swisher county jail when the incident occurred.

    He allegedly suffered a fatal brain injury when he fell down in the jail striking his head.

    The suit claims because of a 2010 suicide attempt because of his depression, Borum was unable to eat through by mouth and was fed a liquid diet through a stomach tube.

    The family attorney says jail staff were using honey and orange juice for the detox and that Borum hadn't been fed his supplements for three days when he passed out from hunger striking his head.

    He died two days later.

    Attorney Scott Medlock says the sheriff asked for permission to transfer Borum to another facility but, that request was denied.

    "That's really the shocking part of this case.  The county's officials refused to pay an extremely modest cost like $80 a day to house Mr. Borum in a safe facility."

    Medlock says he'll let the judge in the case decide how much the family should be awarded should they win the suit.

    Borum's death also came at a time the jail itself was under heavy scrutiny by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

    In fact, the TCJS was close to shutting them down over staffing issues.

    Those problems were eventually fixed but, the attorney for the family mentions those problems in the suit.

    Swisher county judge Harold Keeter would not comment

    You may remember Swisher county and former sheriff Emmett Benavidez were sued last year for sexual harassment and harassment.

    That suit was settled out of court in February.

    The trial for criminal charges against Benavidez is still pending. 

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