JOPLIN, Mo. — The family of a man who died last month in the Joplin City Jail has filed a wrongful death suit against the city, the police department, and several jail employees.
Nicholas Bartlett, 21, died on September 16th while in police custody. The Jasper County coroner said a preliminary autopsy showed the cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging.
According to the lawsuit, Bartlett was booked in the jail around 8:30 on the night of September 15th for domestic assault, resisting arrest, and three failure to appear warrants. It claims the arresting officer told jail staff that Bartlett was suicidal and was harming himself with a knife. The lawsuit goes on to state that Bartlett was placed on suicide watch and should have been checked on every 15 minutes.
Also, according to the lawsuit, video inside the jail shows Bartlett wrapped a phone cord around his neck and hanged himself around 10 o’clock that night, and that jail staff didn’t enter his cell until shortly after midnight after noticing he hadn’t moved in the previous two cell checks.
The family is claiming multiple counts of negligence, saying more safety, training, and supervision are all needed in the jail. They are seeking damages in excess of $25,000.