A sheriff’s deputy for Orleans Parish found herself on the inside of a jail cell following her recent arrest in connection with an inmate’s death. The jail inmate, who was only 15 and was facing murder charges, was found hanging in his cell. This has consistently been described as a suicide.
The criminal charge against the deputy, whose current employment status is not clear, was “malfeasance in office.” Basically, the charge boils down to an accusation that the deputy, while a public official, failed to exercise those responsibilities laid upon her.
Specifically, authorities claim that the deputy was supposed to be watching the jail block in which the young inmate was detained and was supposed to be making rounds on the block every 15 minutes. However, the arrest warrant in this case suggested the teen actually hanged in his jail cell for about 90 minutes before the deputy noticed, although elsewhere authorities accused the deputy of waiting one hour between her security checks.
When the deputy eventually found the inmate, the jail called for an ambulance. While the teen was taken to the hospital, he was pronounced dead about an hour or so after being discovered.
Even if there are mitigating factors in this case that would keep this deputy out of jail herself, she will still likely face long-term consequences should she be convicted. One of the most obvious consequences is that she will probably not be able to work in law enforcement in the future.
Perhaps even more so than others, this case certainly has another side to the story. At this time, the deputy has the option of defending herself and setting the record straight should she opt to take this case to trial.
Source: New Orleans Times-Picayune, “Orleans deputy arrested on malfeasance charge related to suicide of 15-year-old inmate,” Emily Lane, April 5, 2017.