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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Family of Man Who Died In Jail From Alleged Mistreatment Receives $3.5 Million Settlement

Robert A. Richardson, Black man who died while in jail

Robert A. Richardson died in prison in 2012 after suffering a seizure

Montgomery, OH — After a long legal fight that took almost seven years, the family of Robert A. Richardson Sr., who died in an Ohio prison due to alleged mistreatment, has finally reached a $3.5 million settlement. The settlement money is expected to be split among his nine children.

“It’s a huge victory for the family in terms of what the civil justice system can offer them,” Nicholas DiCello, the lawyer that represents Richardson’s family, told Dayton Daily News. Richardson’s family has been fighting for justice since his death in 2012 and final negotiations started in mid-December.

Richardson was imprisoned for not appearing at a court hearing related to unpaid child support. He would have been released if he posted the $2,500 bail, but he was unable to pay for it.

In 2012, then 28-year old Richardson died at Ohio’s Montgomery County Jail after reportedly suffering a seizure and the jail officers and medical personnel placed him in handcuffs with his face down. It was only until about 22 minutes that they realized that Richardson was already dead.

According to an internal investigation, the jail officers committed no wrongdoing because they only allegedly “restricted Mr. Richardson’s movement to prevent Mr. Richardson from injuring himself.” However, sheriff’s office Capt. Chuck Crosby admitted in a deposition that Richardson being placed in a prone position violated the departmental policy.

“What happened to Robert was unacceptable, and a lot of mistakes were made, and we pursued this as far as we could,” DiCello said.

Most recently, the Montgomery County and its insurers will have to pay $3.5 million as settlement for Richardson’s death. That, including the $500,000 paid earlier in a settlement by jail health-care provider NaphCare, amounts to $4 million that will go to Richardson’s family including his nine children.

“We’ve been to the Court of Appeals. We’ve been up to the Supreme Court of the United States and back. So it’s a great victory as far as justice can be obtained by way of a settlement of the claims,” DiCello said. “And the family is happy in that regard.”

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