- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Two Milwaukee County supervisors are seeking outside investigations of the Milwaukee County Jail after four deaths have occurred there since April.

County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb Sr. and Supervisor Supreme Moore Omokunde are sponsoring the resolution. County lawyers said the board of supervisors lacks the authority to demand independent probes.

Lipscomb said in a statement “there can be no ambiguity when it comes to something as serious as understanding the circumstances.” He said he expects the sheriff will follow the policies of Milwaukee County.

Of the four deaths, the one that has drawn the most criticism is the death of Terrill Thomas, 38, who the medical examiner’s office found died of “profound dehydration.” The Milwaukee Police Department is conducting a criminal investigation on the case.

The sheriff’s office has retained jurisdiction in the other three cases that include the July death of a newborn, the August death of Kristina Fiebrink, 38, and the October death of Michael Madden, 29. The medical examiner’s office has not released the cause of death in any of the three cases. However, the sheriff’s office said the newborn died after an inmate gave birth without any jail or medical staffing.

In all three cases, relatives of the deceased have called on the sheriff to handover the investigation to an outside agency. Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. has not publicly commented about the requests, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/2htyUQ4 ) reported.

In a statement issued Monday, the sheriff claimed the two supervisors are diverting attention from the fact that opiate-related deaths have reached a crisis level in Milwaukee.

The proposed resolution also includes a requirement for outside investigations into deaths at the county-run House of Correction.

According to Interim Corporation Counsel Colleen Foley, supervisors have the authority to implement that mandate.

The proposal will be considered Thursday at a county supervisors subcommittee meeting.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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