DYERSBURG, Tenn. – An inmate at the Dyer County Jail was allowed to roll around naked on the floor and bang his head into walls for hours without medical attention before finally overdosing on methamphetamine, according a lawsuit filed by the inmate’s parents.
Cade Tinkle, a 23-year-old father, was pronounced dead at 7:57 p.m. on June 15, 2017, after being arrested on a public intoxication charge.
This month, Tinkle’s parents filed a $3 million lawsuit against Dyer County, Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box and 14 other Dyer County Sheriff’s Office employees.
“This was a foreseeable and preventable death,” said the family’s attorney, Jeff Rosenblum.
Rosenblum said jailers should have monitored Tinkle when they brought him to jail just before noon that day based on the fact he said Tinkle had admitted to substance abuse problems in the past and that Tinkle’s mother had called the jail several times expressing concern.
“The mother called not once, not twice, but we believe we can prove at least three times,” said Rosenblum.
But what happened around 2:45 p.m. – less than 3 hours after Tinkle’s arrival at the jail – should alone have been enough for jailers to immediately seek medical attention, Rosenblum asserts.
Tinkle was reportedly found naked in his cell pointing to people that didn’t exist.
“He rips his clothes off, he’s buck naked, he’s sweating profusely. He’s screaming and this bizarre behavior absolutely mandated that 911 be called,” said Rosenblum.
Instead, the lawsuit says jailers simply moved Tinkle to another part of the jail and that one even kneeled on Tinkle’s stomach to keep him still.
Later, jailers allegedly say they saw him bumping his head into walls and laying on the floor making grunting sounds.
Four-and-a-half hours later, he died, but Rosenblum said it took nearly a year for his family to get some answers.
“It was pulling teeth,” he said. “Pulling teeth literally to get any of the medical records, to get any of the jail records because they maintained that this was an open investigation for almost 11 months.”
WREG left a messages Thursday afternoon for both Box and the county’s listed attorney, but has not received responses.
In addition to the $3 million in damages, the lawsuit also asks for new policies and training regarding medical access for inmates.