- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The Sedgwick County Commission will pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit by the family of a mentally ill jail inmate severely beaten by a sheriff’s deputy in 2008.

The agreement announced Tuesday resolves a $4.5 million federal lawsuit filed by relatives of the late Edgar Richard Jr. that had been scheduled for trial March 25, The Wichita Eagle reported (http://bit.ly/1lweelO ).

Richard, who was 59 at the time of the beating, had been in and out of state hospitals for psychotic behavior that included hallucinations, hearing voices and cursing at others.

He was in the Sedgwick County Jail awaiting trial on an alleged probation violation when he was punched 15 to 20 times in the face by Sheriff’s Deputy Manuel Diaz on Feb. 15, 2008. The beating fractured Richard’s jaw and knocked out several teeth.

Jail personnel said that during his stay in the facility, Richard had thrown his tray, clogged his toilet and refused to take medication. On the day he was punched he had danced around a pile of torn toilet paper and urinated under his cell door, according to evidence filed in the federal case.

Richard ended up in a nursing home, unable to eat, and died of cancer in 2010. Diaz pleaded no contest to aggravated battery and was fired from the sheriff’s department.

A federal judge had dismissed several initial defendants from the lawsuit but allowed the family’s case to go forward against a jail psychiatrist who relatives said knew Richard should have been hospitalized for his psychotic condition but failed to help get him transferred.

Art Chalmers, a lawyer who defended the county, said the settlement “was considered clearly in the best interest of all concerned.”

The settlement did not cover the jail psychiatrist, but the family’s lead attorney, Larry Wall, said the case was now “fully resolved.”

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Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com

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