Okla. county agrees to settle $10M jail death suit

The suit over the death of Elliott Williams alleged wrongdoing by the county, sheriff


Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — Officials have agreed to settle a lawsuit over the death of a 37-year-old man, who died in 2011 after lying naked in a Tulsa County, Oklahoma, jail cell for five days with a broken neck.

Documents filed in federal court in Tulsa last Thursday said the estate of Elliott Williams and Tulsa County settled and have 20 days to file the agreement, but do not list a settlement amount.

In this surveillance photo, emergency personnel respond to Elliot Williams, whose death after lying naked in a Tulsa County jail cell for five days with a broken neck, was the cause of a $10M lawsuit. (Photo/AP).
In this surveillance photo, emergency personnel respond to Elliot Williams, whose death after lying naked in a Tulsa County jail cell for five days with a broken neck, was the cause of a $10M lawsuit. (Photo/AP).

Estate attorney Dan Smolen told the Tulsa World the settlement is for $10 million. Smolen and a county official did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday seeking comment.

The settlement would end the county’s appeal of a 2017 civil rights lawsuit in which a federal jury awarded the family $10 million, plus $250,000 from former Sheriff Stanley Glanz, the sheriff at the time of Williams’ death.

Smolen told the newspaper the claim against Glanz will be dropped.

Williams had been arrested in the Tulsa suburb of Owasso on a misdemeanor obstruction warrant and, after thrashing, screaming and taking off his clothes, was taken to the Tulsa County jail. He was initially placed in a medical unit before being transferred to a cell.

There, Williams rammed his head against the bars and said he had a broken neck, but a nurse scolded him at one point and told him to stop faking his injuries, according to the lawsuit.

A medical examiner determined that Williams died of complications from a broken neck and dehydration.

Associated Press
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