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Family Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Wayne County Sheriff’s Department in Jailhouse Death of Thomas Carr

December 1, 2023

Jail had access to information on killer’s violent history and severe mental illness and could have taken precautions to avoid Carr’s brutal beating and death 

Media Contact: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications, 248.260.8466; barbara@eafocus.com

 

Southfield, Mich. ---December 1, 2023 --- A. Vince Colella, personal injury and civil rights attorney and co-founder of Southfield-based Moss & Colella, P.C., announced today that a wrongful death lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family of Thomas Carr against the Wayne County Sherriff’s Department. Carr died on July 20, 2023, after a vicious assault by a fellow inmate at the Wayne County Jail Division 1 in Detroit.  

Background

On July 13, 2023, Thomas Carr was serving the first day of a 26-day sentence in the Wayne County Jail for a non-violent misdemeanor, operating while intoxicated (OWI), that occurred in Southgate, Michigan, in April 2023. He was placed in a Wayne County Jail cell with Claude Lewis III, who was awaiting charges on domestic violence and had previous violent convictions and hospitalizations for schizophrenia – historical information that was available to the Wayne County Jail through Michigan State’s Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN).  Within 24 hours of his arrival, Carr was severely beaten by Lewis. He died at Detroit Receiving Hospital on July 20. Records show that a guard failed to perform a standard check of the floor where Lewis and Carr were being held. Further, had Lewis been placed on a mental health floor, he would have been in a solo cell, with more stringent requirements for monitoring.  

Lewis entered the Wayne County Jail on July 12 on charges of misdemeanor domestic violence following a 911 call from his girlfriend. Earlier that day and following his girlfriend’s 911 call, Lewis himself made a 911 call, telling the operator he needed in-patient mental health housing and treatment, rather than jail, for his diagnoses of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.  

Legal Action:

In the lawsuit, Colella asserts the Wayne County Jail was deliberately indifferent to its duty to provide for Carr’s safety and welfare.

“The Wayne County Jail ignored all indications, warnings and previous altercations that Lewis was a danger to himself and others, resulting in Carr’s brutal beating and death,” Colella said.

Colella added that within 30 minutes of his filing of the complaint on November 30, Wayne County, which had ignored several of his FOIA requests since July, sent a scant report with no details of the incident – a report Colella questions is in compliance with the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.

“Given the pattern of tragic, unnecessary loss of life in our local correctional facilities, Wayne County should show leadership and publicly commit to monitoring and enforcing established safety protocols. Instead, there are stall tactics and the withholding of any meaningful information,” Colella said.

About Moss & Colella

Celebrating more than 25 years, Moss & Colella represents the victims of personal injury, civil rights violations, discrimination, medical malpractice and wrongful death.  The firm is recognized as a leader in complex tort litigation, including excess and deadly force, jail death, sexual abuse and harassment, auto and truck accidents, motorcycle accidents and other severe injury and wrongful death claims. To learn more about the firm and its diverse areas of practice, visit www.mosscolella.com.

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About the Firm

The attorneys of Moss & Colella have carefully chosen their career paths to fight for those that have suffered from injury and wrongful death. We believe every citizen should have the right to hire the best lawyer who will actively advocate for their case.

David Moss and Vince Colella have over 60 collective years of personal injury trial experience that provides you a level of legal services and success unmatched by other firms. By working together, we have the ability to find creative, effective, and efficient solutions to even the most complex cases. No matter what situation you face, we will help you get through it.

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