Justice for Inmate Who Died of Dehydration While in Prison

Target: Jeffrey Sessions, United States Attorney General

Goal: Continue a civil rights investigation into a sheriff’s alleged misconduct and negligence which may have led to the deaths of prison inmates, including a man who died of severe dehydration.

In 2016, four people died at the Milwaukee County Jail. In one high profile case which is currently under inquest, a mentally ill man named Terrill Thomas was allegedly allowed to wither away in solitary confinement without water for seven days until he was found dead. While Milwaukee County district attorneys are working to make sure the individual jailers who reportedly allowed this horrifying act to occur under their watch will be brought to justice, the fact remains that the jail is under the control of a man who has boasted about his “hands-off” approach to running the prison and who has made blatantly racist comments against black Americans, calling them “lazy” and “morally bankrupt.”

Following the death of Thomas, the Department of Justice began investigating Sheriff David Clarke for any misconduct or civil rights violations that may have occurred under his watch that could have contributed to the deaths of four people at his relatively small jail, which houses under 1,000 inmates. However, Clarke was an ardent supporter of then-presidential nominee Donald Trump, and following Trump’s election, was slated as a possible pick for the new presidential cabinet. Thankfully, Clarke was denied this position, yet the investigation against the sheriff has essentially stalled under the new administration.

Prosecuting and punishing the jailers directly responsible for Thomas’s death by dehydration is a necessary act, but it will not solve the larger problem at the Milwaukee County Jail. Sign this petition to demand that a thorough investigation is allowed to take place to determine whether or not Sheriff David Clarke permitted negligent or discriminatory acts to harm inmates while under his watch.


Dear Attorney General Sessions,

The death of Terrill Thomas in 2016 due to severe dehydration is shocking. A severely mentally ill man was allowed to waste away over seven days without access to water due to the reported negligence of the prison guards and jailers watching over him, but also due to an apparent culture of apathy and cruelty that has been allowed to develop at the Milwaukee County Jail under Sheriff David Clarke’s lead.

Last year, the Department of Justice began investigations into whether or not Clarke’s behavior violated civil rights protections for prisoners or if he allowed for misconduct to occur within the jail. So far with the new administration, it appears as though the investigation against Clarke has stalled and he remains in control of the small jail where four people died in 2016 alone. We, the undersigned, demand that these investigations be allowed to proceed so that any potential wrongdoing can be brought to justice before more inmates are harmed.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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  1. Gen Lovyet Agustsson says:

    how many more are going extinct? if population is slowing down to an extinction, dont know how many more are going extinct.

  2. Paulette Mirfield says:

    Why is there even a petition about this? The man was locked up with no liquids and, surprise, surprise- he’s “found unresponsive”. Prisons do a head check multiple times daily and not one of the prison employees checked on his water accessibility? This is murder and “I was just following orders” won’t suffice anymore than it did in w? WWII.

  3. David Clarke is Joe Arpaio’s younger brother. See the resemblance. Lives do not matter as they pursue absolute power. Oh, are you thirsty? Let’s deny all fluids for 7 days. You need meds for a mental disorder? Nope, not going to get it. And this is just one of many deaths; 4 in 2016 alone. #45 got a twofer with David: a minority and a megalomaniac to match him. Keep up the investigation and prosecution, remembering the top cop is ultimately responsible for actions of the men he rules.

  4. Frances Raab says:

    Of course he did….he was in charge, he knew – PERIOD.

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