Nathan Green tragedy in Slate magazine article

Jun 22nd, 2017 | By | Category: Lead Article

Slate, June 16, 2017
Why Justice Can Be Impossible To Come By When a Prisoner Dies Behind Bars

When Nathan King was arrested in 2014 and detained in the Polk County Jail for trespassing, his family had no reason to believe his life was in danger. Police in Livingston, Texas, knew King suffered from bipolar disorder and had always treated the 37-year-old with dignity whenever they’d crossed paths in the past, his uncle Don Glenn recalls. Officers usually brought King to a mental health facility or dropped him off at a family member’s house. The sheriff had even taken him to McDonald’s. So, when King didn’t come home from jail right away, his family wasn’t particularly concerned; they believed law enforcement was taking care of King and chalked the situation up to administrative errors. That changed when a cousin locked up in the same jail told King’s mother her son’s health appeared to be deteriorating rapidly. Months later, in February 2015, King collapsed in jail and died from tuberculosis he’d contracted behind bars. His body was covered in bruises.

“I’m still trying to wrap my brain around how someone could walk by someone every day and see them getting sicker and sicker and not give them so much of, ‘Hey, let’s do something. Let’s get this guy checked out,’ ” Glenn says.

More than two years have gone by, and King’s family is desperate for justice. The Texas Rangers, a law enforcement agency that conducts criminal investigations for the Texas Department of Public Safety, investigated King’s death and found no proof of wrongdoing. A spokesman for TDPS confirmed that no criminal act was discovered. The family then asked the local district attorney’s office if it had received a report from the Rangers and was told no. (The Polk County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.) Now, King’s relatives are scrambling to figure out what went wrong.”

Please visit Texas Jail Project’s website “Jailhouse Stories: Voices of Pretrial Detention in Texas”

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