Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The family of Edgar Richards files a formal complaint with the Wichita Branch NAACP

59 year-old Edgar Richard suffered a skull fracture, broken jaw and other broken bones while an inmate at the Sedgwick County Jail in Wichita Kansas. He is now in serious condition, but remains on life support.

According to jail records, two guards and a nurse attempted to give Richard his medication on February 15th, but apparently Richard (who suffers from schizophrenia and bipolar disorder) refused and attempted to leave his cell. At one point, officers claim he tried to choke a guard. That’s when an altercation occurred with the guard leaving in Edgar Richard in critical condition with broken bones, a broken jaw, and several skull fractures.

His brother and sister-in law, Ronnie and Cynthia Richard, confirmed that Edgar suffers from and is being treated for delusions, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. They say he can be violent if he's not taking his medication, and the sheriff's deputies know that. Last night, the family of Edgar Richard filed a formal complaint and asked that the Wichita Branch NAACP assist the family in seeking justice for Edgar.

The FBI has opened a preliminary investigation into the incident. The FBI investigation is in addition to an investigation to determine whether a crime occurred. Sheriff's investigators presented initial findings of that investigation to the District Attorney's Office on Tuesday. The investigation is continuing, said officials with both offices. Another, internal investigation is focusing on whether the deputy violated county policy.

The preliminary FBI investigation could last up to 90 days, although it usually goes faster, Lanza said. A report on the findings will go to the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, which will decide whether a full investigation is needed, Lanza said. "These types of investigations are very routine whenever there is any kind of allegations regarding... use of force by law enforcement," he said. The detention deputy has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
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Our NAACP Legal Redress Investigation team met last night with the family of Mr. Richard, and agreed to assist the family in their fight for justice. We will meet later this week with the Attorney's for Mr. Richard to discuss legal issues and strategies, and will shadow the FBI and subsequent DOJ investigations to ensure they are transparent and thorough. We will also work closely with the media and family to ensure all relevant pieces of information are appropriately exposed.

We are also planning to hold a Town Hall meeting here in Wichita, tentatively planned for April 19th, to address use of force issues here in Wichita and to bring attention to pending cases currently under investigation by the FBI and DOJ such as the case of Ms. Rowana Riggs who was beaten last year by an officer of the Wichita Police Department, Ms. Adriana Molina, and Mr. Jose DeLaRosa who were tasered and arrested outside of America's Pub night club, then falsely charged with battery on a law enforcement officer in separate incidents, each time following a Latin themed event.

And lastly, we are calling upon the Sheriff's Department and the Hospital Staff to immediately allow the family of Mr. Edgar Richard to resume visitation. The family's visitation was terminated once Mr. Richard started to regain consciousness. But we believe it is unconscionable that the family of Mr. Richard, who is listed in serious condition and remains on life support as the result of his treatment at the hands of a Sedgwick County deputy, would be prevented from visiting their brother as he recovers. We will be addressing this point both with the Sheriffs Department and the Hospital Administration.

We will update you all with new developments as they arise...



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mschumey07 March 6, 2008 at 2:31 AM  

I am appalled by this incident. The guards I presume knows the mental condition of Mr. Richards. Such brutal response is unwarranted and unjustified.

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