JACKSON COUNTY, Ind. — A legal team representing the family of Ta'Neasha Chappell has filed a lawsuit against the Jackson County, Ind. Jail on several claims. They are seeking $30 million in compensatory damages.
Chappell died while in custody July 16. Since Chappell's death, her family has asked the jail to release her cause of death and sought justice in the case.
The lawsuit submitted by Sam Aguiar names seven Jackson Co. Jail employees, a police commander in the jail and Sheriff Rick Meyer.
Claims in the suit include the jail has a history of inmate mistreatment. This includes unsafe living conditions throughout the jail, use of excessive force by employees, overcrowding in cells and overt racism.
The lawsuit goes on to allege the jail is directly responsible for Chappell's death saying calls for help from the inmate went ignored for several hours and even claiming multiple employees, including the jail nurse, said she was faking an illness. It also indicates that both her rights under the Eighth and 14th Amendments were infringed upon.
Documents claim Chappell was vomiting for several hours in addition to having uncontrollable bowel movements and discoloration to the face and other parts of the body. The lawsuit alleges when officers attempted to move the 23-year-old Louisville native to separate cell, an officer dropped her leaving with a head injury.
Chappell was eventually taken to Schneck Medical Center and Emergency Medical Service (EMS) records show she was speaking and had a strong pulse when she was loaded into an ambulance. Paramedics confirmed the discoloration of her skin and eyes as well as a large bump on her forehead.
The lawsuit alleges officers at the jail accompanied EMS responders to the hospital and "put their hands" on her while no hospitals were present in the room. Chappell later died at the hospital shortly after arriving.
Aguiar's lawsuit is bringing counts including indifference to serious medical needs resulting in cruel and unusual punishment and negligence against the seven jail employees and a policy of indifference to medical needs resulting in cruel and unusual punishment against the jail commander and Sheriff Meyer. The fourth claim of wrongful death claims all of listed are responsible.
Indiana State Police have yet to release the official autopsy on Chappell's death. WHAS11 has reached out to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office and has not reached comment on the lawsuit's claims.