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Family of deceased inmate files lawsuit against Canadian County officials

By Traci Chapman
Staff Writer

Canadian County Commissioners, former sheriff Randall Edwards and a county jail healthcare contractor face a federal lawsuit, filed by the family of a man who died in June 2016 while held in Canadian County Jail.

It is undisputed that 46-year-old Anthony Kade Davis died June 5, 2016, shortly after being found unresponsive in his jail cell and that Davis was held there as the result of a criminal misdemeanor DUI case filed by prosecutors in April 2016. Those are the only facts not in dispute, county officials said.

Davis’ sister Nichole Young filed the July 28 suit in United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma. Seeking more than $150,000 in claimed actual and punitive damages, Young named the Board of Commissioners, Edwards and Turn Key Health Clinics, LLC, the company contracted to provide medical services to prisoners in Canadian County Jail.

According to the lawsuit, Davis was first arrested April 4, 2016 by El Reno Police Department on an alleged DUI. During an initial detention period, Young alleged medical personnel at the county jail observed that Davis exhibited symptoms of serious physical distress, including an April 6 seizure and “evidence of bruising and swelling” on April 7.

After being released on April 13 under a personal recognizance bond, Davis failed to appear for a court hearing in connection with the misdemeanor case, according to court records. On May 17, 2016, Special Judge Jack McCurdy issued a bench warrant for Davis’ arrest and increased his bond amount from $7,500 to $15,000. Davis was arrested and taken to Canadian County Jail May 31 as a result of that warrant; before June 5 was over, Davis was pronounced dead, court records show.

In her lawsuit, Young alleges two claims – that her brother’s Constitutional rights were violated and that Edwards and Turn Key Health were guilty of negligence and wrongful death because they allegedly did not provide proper medical care to Davis while he was held in the jail after his May 31 arrest.

“…he was found lying naked on the floor of a cell, unresponsive, with observable external injuries and covered in human feces,” Young stated in her complaint. “It was reported that Mr. Davis had been ill for three days and had denied any drug involvement or use in proceeding days.”

Young further alleged law enforcement and jailers knew Davis had mental and physical issues that should have dictated his transport to a treatment facility; instead, she stated, “the defendants locked Mr. Davis in a holding cell in isolation.”

While neither Canadian County Commissioners, Edwards nor the sheriff’s office could comment because of pending litigation, Turn Key Health co-founder and director Trent Smith issued a statement.

“Turn Key will continue to provide excellent care to our patients in Oklahoma as well as our patients in the other states we service,” he said. “We will continue to vigorously defend any claims against us and the care we provide.”

No hearings have yet been set in the case.

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