Sheriff, warden sued over jail inmate's beating death
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A federal lawsuit claims a Louisiana sheriff and a jail warden failed to protect a prisoner from being beaten to death by a dozen other inmates last year in an attack that an eyewitness compared to a "shark feeding frenzy."
Relatives of the slain 40-year-old prisoner, Tommy Joe Smith, sued Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards and the warden, Stuart Murphy, on Tuesday.
The lawsuit says Smith was jailed last January on a probation violation stemming from a 2015 conviction for a sex crime. The suit claims staff at the parish jail didn't segregate Smith from violent prisoners even though his criminal history made him a target.
Edwards' brother is Gov. John Bel Edwards. A spokeswoman for the sheriff's office didn't immediately respond to a call and email seeking comment.