Oklahoma Inmate Dies After Being Left in Restraint Chair For More Than 55 Hours

Anthony Dewayne Huff

ENID, Okla. — An affidavit filed the case of four charged with first-degree manslaughter for the death of a Garfield County Detention Facility inmate describes more than 55 hours the man spent in a restraint chair.

Sheriff Jerry Niles and three others were charged on Valentine’s Day with felony first-degree manslaughter in the June 2016 death of Anthony Dewayne Huff. The sheriff also was charged with two misdemeanor counts of nepotism.

The manslaughter charges are punishable by no less than four years in prison.

District Attorney Christopher Boring, who was appointed last year to investigate Huff’s death, also filed manslaughter charges against then-jail administrator Jennifer Shay Niles, jailers John Robert Markus and Shawn Caleb Galusha.

The four charged were indicted last summer following the convening of a grand jury. Indictments handed up by the grand jury included the four and two nurses, Vanisa Jo Gay and Lela June Goatley, who were working at the jail at the time of Huff’s death. The indictments were unsealed July 25, 2017, and each were charged with a single felony count of second-degree manslaughter, punishable by two to four years in prison, or up to a year in county jail, or a fine of up to $1,000, or both fine and incarceration. The indictments were dismissed in December, when Boring announced his intention to refile the indictments as criminal charges.

During their initial court appearance last year, charges were dropped against Gay. Charges were not refiled against Goatley. No new court date has been set for the four charged. An order filed Feb. 14 states all Garfield County judges have recused from the case and Associate District Judge Ryan D. Reddick, of Beaver County, has been assigned to preside the cases.

Recording in restraint chair

A five-page affidavit written by OSBI Agent Charles Dancer filed in the manslaughter cases details violations of the jail and Oklahoma State Department of Health’s policies pertaining to the use of a restraint chair, leading the investigator to write that Huff was treated cruelly and inhumanely.

Huff was arrested by Enid Police Department June 4, 2016, on a complaint of public intoxication, according to the affidavit. Huff was booked into the jail at 1:15 p.m.

From June 4 to June 6 at about 11:45 a.m. there were no written reports of any violent or major incidents of disturbances that were caused by Huff, according to the affidavit. Jennifer Niles had Huff placed into a restraint chair about 11:45 a.m. June 6. Huff was strapped and handcuffed to the chair and placed in a medical unit cell.

At 10:51 p.m. June 7, Huff was moved out of the medical unit cell and placed into an open area of the medical room, which had video recording capabilities but no audio recording capabilities, according to the affidavit. Huff was still restrained in the chair.

According to the affidavit, the county jail had its own “Restraint Chair/Restraints” policy that reads, “No employee of the Garfield County Detention Facility will use the restraint chair as a disciplinary device. It is to be used to prevent a detainee from causing harm to him/her, other detainees, staff or property.”

The policy also states the decision to place a detainee in the restraint chair is determined by the shift supervisor and requires, that when used, the restraint chair was to be placed in a holding cell in the booking area with a camera in the cell, according to the affidavit.

The policy also requires monitoring of a detainee placed in the chair, including: staff checking the detainee every 15 minutes, offering bathroom breaks at least every two hours, offering the opportunity for finger foods at scheduled meal times, offering water whenever appropriate but at least every two hours and conducting circulation checks at least every hour. The last provision of the policy is in bold letters stating, “Documentation of each of the above listed requirements will be documented on the Restraint Chair Log Sheet.”

The policy also requires approval from a medical or mental health professional for a detainee to be held for more than four hours in a restraint chair. Continuation for more than eight hours requires a medical exam, according to the affidavit. The policy also requires a detainee’s entire stay in a restraint chair to be recorded and saved by the jail administrator.

For full story visit: http://www.enidnews.com/news/local_news/more-details-emerge-in-garfield-county-jail-death/article_37e26103-072e-55f1-840f-6e63578c7ed9.html