Nashville paying $150K for jail inmate’s death

Nashville is prepared to pay the family of Michael David Jones $150,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after his death while held in the Davidson County jail after arrest on public intoxication charges near a homeless shelter, reports The Tennessean.

Jones, heavily intoxicated and noncompliant when he was arrested at 11 p.m., was pepper-sprayed before being taken into custody and then placed in hand restraints while in the booking area of the Davidson County Criminal Justice Center. He was eventually taken to a seclusion cell.

Later, correctional officer placed what’s know as a “spit hood” — a mask-like device used to prevent inmates from spitting on officers — over Jones after he indicated he was going to spit in their faces.

Jones soon told correctional officers that he could not breathe in the “spit hood,” according to a legal analysis prepared by Metro Council attorney Jon Cooper. Officers adjusted the hood, and he quieted down. They checked again after another eight-minute interval, and Jones appeared fine, but he was found unconscious the next time they monitored. When officers took the “spit hood” off, vomit spilled out.

Jones was transported to Nashville General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:09 a.m.

…”While it is unclear whether the use of the spit hood actually caused or contributed to his death, the failure to follow DCSO procedures and continuously supervise Mr. Jones certainly supports the plaintiff’s argument,” the council’s legal analysis reads.

Though no disciplinary action was taken against any of the involved sheriff’s office employees, according to the legal analysis, the sheriff’s office has taken measures to seek to prevent similar incidents in the future.