It’s no secret that inmates are viewed as the waste of society and easily expendable. Hardly ever do basic human rights for inmates cross the minds of millions of Americans. But they are human and are still afforded SOME inalienable rights despite being inmates. Many would like to ignore that fact and forget about the “scourges” of society but that becomes a slippery slope to the point of no return. A corrections officer, a warden, and other prison staff are tasked with remembering these are still human beings. More often than not though, the isolation of prison affords these caretakers of evil a cloak to mask their own. A near insurmountable hurdle has to be overcome to shine light on the uniformed bandits.
Such is the case with former St. Bernard correctional officer Timothy Williams. Williams pleaded guilty Tuesday in the death of Nimali Henry. Williams admitted that 19-year-old Nimali Henry died as a result of his failure to seek medical help for her. She apparently experienced a medical episode from a rare blood disorder and died during a 10-day stay at the parish jail, according to federal court records.
“Williams deliberately deprived the victim of necessary medical attention, resulting in her death,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore. “Williams admittedly violated federal law and his sworn duty as a corrections officer to adequately care for and protect the constitutional rights of an inmate under his supervision.”
Three other officers were charged in Henry’s death. They were indicted on civil rights charges alleging that they deliberately ignored the medical needs of Henry when she died behind bars. Henry was originally locked on minor charges but her family was unable to raise the $25,000 bond. Henry was found lying face down in an isolation cell just before 8 a.m. on April 1, 2014.
No April fools!
Henry ended up in jail because two weeks prior she got into a dispute with another woman while trying to see her 4-month-old daughter. According to the Huffington Post, the daughter and the daughter’s father were at this woman’s house.
Henry was arrested for disturbing the peace, simple battery and unauthorized entry, and bond was set. But “nobody could come up with [the money],” said her sister, 20-year-old Deshawna Henry, according to a Times-Picayune report.
In February 2014, Henry was diagnosed with the rare blood disorder TTP and was hospitalized for several weeks. Family members attempted to any corrections officer about Henry’s medical condition but none would lend an ear. “I tried to let them know about how sick she was, and they wouldn’t listen to me,” Deshawna Henry said.
The grand jury eventually indicted corrections officers Capt. Andre Dominick, Cpl. Timothy Williams, Deputy Debra Becnel and Deputy Lisa Vaccarella. Each of them knew about Henry’s serious medical condition but did nothing to help her, according to the indictment. Henry was never evaluated by a doctor and never received her medication, the indictment said. Each of the corrections officers also allegedly lied to FBI agents investigating the case.