Family Sues BIA for $2.1M Over South Dakota Jail Death

November 6, 2013

The family of a man who died after a fall in a jail on an American Indian reservation in South Dakota is suing the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs for $2.1 million for wrongful death.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in South Dakota alleges that jailers at the federal detention facility on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation southeast of Pierre ignored Sheldon Solomon’s intoxication and failed to offer medical care or check on his well-being.

Solomon, 47, had a seizure and fell from a top bunk onto a concrete floor in the jail in August 2011, the Argus Leader newspaper reported. He died from a brain injury.

“People, even if they’re intoxicated, deserve proper medical care,” said Steven Johnson, the Sioux Falls lawyer representing the family. “You don’t just throw someone in a cell and forget about them.”

The BIA did not immediately respond to the lawsuit or to requests for comment from the Argus Leader and The Associated Press.

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