NEW ORLEANS – She was in pain and begging for help. After ten days in the St. Bernard Parish jail, 19-year-old Nimali Henry died on the floor of her cell on April 1, 2014, never receiving the medical care that could have saved her life.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana has announced the sentencing of two jail supervisors who ignored Henry’s cries, even though they both knew that she had a rare blood disorder and needed medical treatment.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the supervisors violated Henry’s civil rights, by being “deliberately indifferent” to her medical needs. Both pleaded guilty.
Former St. Bernard Parish Prison Captain Andre Dominick was sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutors say Dominick was “acting as the medical officer” and “observed Henry’s deteriorating physical condition while she was in jail… (but) failed to take any reasonable steps to get her the medical attention she needed.”
During the same period, former St. Bernard Parish Prison Corporal Timothy Williams also knew that Henry was desperately sick. Prosecutors say Williams admitted placing Henry “in a holding cell, a placement typically reserved for misbehaving inmates, in order to discourage her from making future medical complaints.”
Prosecutors say Williams “also told Henry’s fellow inmates to stop requesting help on (her) behalf.”
Willliams was sentenced to 2 years and nine months in prison.
Also this week, two female prison guards were sentenced to lesser prison time, for lying to the FBI to cover up the actions of Dominick and Williams.
“Nimali Henry’s death was not the result of neglect or a lapse of judgment,” according to a statement released by the U.S. Attorney’s office. “Her death was the slow, painful, and completely preventable result of the deliberate choices made by these defendants.”
You can read more about Henry’s medical condition, and why she was in jail, in our previous web reporting here.