Larry Eugene Price Jr of Arkansas walked into the Fort Smith Police Department in August 2020 and threatened police by making a gun shape with his hand. Cops arrested him on the spot, charging him with making terroristic threats. Homeless and developmentally disabled, Price could not pay the $1,000 bai and he remained in jail for over a year. He refused to take psychiatric medication while in prison and was sent to solitary confinement. He stopped eating and drinking, and his weight dropped from 185 pounds to 90 pounds.
According to Reason, "In August 2021, Price died from dehydration and malnutrition. He was found dead in a pool of standing water and urine."
Price's family is suing Sebastian County, and its jail medical provider, Turn Key Health Clinics for fai;sure to provide adequate care. The complaint says Price had paranoid schizophrenia and an IQ below 55. "It was not uncommon for him to suffer from bouts of psychosis and to completely lose touch with reality," says the complaint.
"The county places a high priority on the safety of every person in our jail. We have medical personnel available to treat inmates in need of care," Sebastian County Judge Steve Hotz told Fox News in an email. "The sheriff is conducting an internal review of this situation and hope to know more in the future."
County Sheriff Hobe Runion said in a video statement that an autopsy showed Price weighed 120 pounds at the time of his death, not 90 pounds. "Let me make one point clear: the jail staff gave this inmate plenty of food and water every day," he said, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "The jail medical staff were in regular contact with him. The autopsy said the inmate died with COVID."
But just because staff gave Price "plenty of food and water," it doesn't mean that he was consuming it. A county medical examiner ruled Price's death as being caused by acute dehydration and malnutrition, with COVID-19 as a contributing factor.
Disturbing pictures included in the family's complaint show Price looking emaciated and skeletal.