By The SunSentinel’s Stephen Hobbs
December 2, 2016
Documents obtained by the Sun Sentinel raise questions about the accuracy of Sheriff’s Office records and how closely some mentally ill inmates were monitored before they died.
Inmate Raleigh Priester died soon after collapsing in his cell about 12:45 p.m. on July 10, 2012. Though he was rushed to the hospital, deputies continued to document, about every 30 minutes and until 8 a.m. the following morning, that he was alive and inside his cell at the North Broward jail.
“I think it’s very difficult to explain how several of your employees are claiming that they were checking on somebody at 30-minute intervals when that individual was not in your facility,” said Greg Lauer, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who represented Priester’s family in a federal lawsuit over his care in jail.
Lt. Col Keith Neely, the head of detention at the Sheriff’s Office, said in an interview that a “paperwork snafu” was to blame for the incorrect entries and that the situation was addressed.
Neely said Priester was not taken out of the jail’s monitoring system when he was sent to the hospital after he collapsed. That meant that when a deputy checked his former cell and others in the unit, and relayed that to another deputy, the jail’s management system showed that Priester was in his cell.