ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The family of the inmate who hung herself while on suicide watch has sued the sheriffs office, the sheriff and other Monroe County agencies, claiming the deputies didn’t continue constant watch.
Sitarah Daniels was found unresponsive in her cell on Sept. 4, 2018 and died the following day.
In a lawsuit filed by her mother, Juanita James, it lists in details the events that took place on September 4, leading up to the death of Daniels.
According to the lawsuit, Daniels arrive at the Monroe County Jail on August 8 and her medical history of anxiety, depression, polysubstance abuse, schizoaffective disorder and suicide attempts had been disclosed to the staff at the jail.
The lawsuit also stated that it was also made known that Daniels had attempted suicide with a bed sheet in a previous stay inside of the Monroe County Jail.
On August 9, she was place on “constant supervision” or suicide watch.
The lawsuit claimed that Daniels was improperly “cleared” from constant supervision status on August 13, but the lawsuit cites witnessed that observed “dramatic change in her behavior.”
Daniels was scheduled to make a court appearance for September 4 and after the appearance, was transported back to the Monroe County Jail where she returned to “general population.”
The lawsuit claimed that the jail was understaffed and the staff that was present, didn’t properly patrol all of the areas they were responsible for, but logged it as complete.
The lawsuit alleges that security footage shows Daniels was seen using a blanket to hang herself on 2:33 p.m. on September 4.
It wasn’t until 2:57 p.m. that deputies walked past the camera and saw Daniels hanging in her cell — depriving her of medical attention for 25 minutes.
Daniels was pronounced brain dead at 7:20 p.m. on September 5.
Baxter issued a statement last year regarding the incident as well.
“Sitarah Daniels is someone’s daughter, friend, loved one. I extend my sincerest sympathy to the family and friends of Ms. Daniels, especially Sitarah’s mother. As the Sheriff of Monroe County, I am saddened anytime anyone dies while in the care and custody of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. No incident of this nature is taken lightly. As a result of this tragedy inside our walls, a complete and thorough internal investigation was conducted, as well as an ongoing investigation by the New York State Commission of Corrections. The results of the MCSO Internal Affairs investigation prompted me to sustain departmental charges, impose serious disciplinary measures, take corrective actions, and change policy and procedures where necessary, to ensure we provide the utmost professional care to all of those housed inside our facilities.“