JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The family of a Clay County inmate that died behind bars has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the county, Sheriff Michelle Cook and several deputies reportedly involved in his death.
A civil complaint alleges that Joshua Swann was the victim of excessive force, deprivation of his right to due process, and inhumane confinement, which ultimately resulted in his death.
The document states that on or about Jan. 26, 2023, Swann was arrested for misdemeanor battery allegedly committed on a fellow patient at Orange Park Medical Center’s Psychiatric Ward while he was voluntarily seeking treatment.
Swann was expected to be released that day, but the document alleges that the nursing staff had medicated him and decided not to discharge due to his agitated state.
The complaint alleged that from the date he was arrested, up until his death, he was denied food and water, necessary medical care and "was held in solitary confinement for undisclosed reasons."
The complaint also alleges that despite the defendants given notice that Swann suffered from schizophrenia, and had undergone treatment for that condition for the majority of his adult life, he was not given medical care.
The document alleged that Swann was also badly beaten.
On March 6, Swann's family says he was found dead in his cell "profusely bleeding from multiple bodily orifices at the time he was found unresponsive"
The document says that the defendants acted to cover up their abuse and did so by directing a trustee to clean Swann's cell with bleach before summoning medical care after he was found.
Swann's estate is seeking damages in excess of $5 million.
First Coast News reached out to the Clay County Sheriff's Office for a comment regarding the lawsuit. A representative said CCSO does not comment on pending litigation.