ENID, Oklahoma — A grand jury is investigating whether officers at an Oklahoma jail are responsible for the death of an inmate who was found dead after being strapped in a restraining chair for two days.
Anthony Huff, 58, had been arrested for public intoxication in Enid, Oklahoma in June 2016 and placed in the chair two days after he was booked and was found dead 48 hours later. The official cause of Huff’s death was complications from chronic alcoholism, authorities said.
A civil rights lawsuit filed by his family last month said jail officials knew from prior arrests that Huff suffered from congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and other ailments, but left him in the chair without his medication or adequate food or water for two full days.
The Oklahoman newspaper said the grand jury is investigating whether officers committed a crime by leaving Huff in the chair for so long.
According to the suit, filed in federal court in Oklahoma City, Huff “died due to conditions related to his withdrawal from alcohol and the effects it had on his body and system.”
The suit names the Garfield County sheriff, jail administrator, the county commissioners, the Garfield County Detention Center, the jail medical provider and a jail nurse for actual and punitive damages.
The suit says there had been a recorded pattern of abuse of inmates at the jail and that some guards had complained to the jail administrators about it. County officials, the sheriff and the jail administrator deny any wrongdoing.