Everett Palmer Jr. died while in prison custody on April 9, 2018 and his mother is taking legal action against York County Prison in Pennsylvania, the prison board of inspectors and 10 individuals identified as John Doe. According to the York Daily Record, Palmer’s mother, Rose Palmer, is being represented by attorney Lee Merritt who claimed that his death was “criminal.”
Relatives of the 41-year-old man said he died two days after turning himself in for a DUI charge from 2016. He was trying to clear up the warrant so he could visit his family in New York. He was placed in a single-person cell on suicide watch, per an autopsy report. Palmer began banging his head against the cell door at around 4 a.m. The report goes on to say that correction officers used a stun gun on Palmer twice after he refused to obey a command given to him.
Officers returned to the Palmer’s cell and put him in a restraint chair. They placed a hood on his head as well to prevent him from spitting, the York Daily Record reports. When he was transported to a medical unit, “his eyes appeared still head leaned to the side.”
The manner in which Palmer died is undetermined, according to the outlet. However, The York County Coroner’s Office reported that the cause of death was “complications following an excited state, associated with methamphetamine toxicity, during physical restraint,” in addition to “probable sickling red cell disorder” as a contributing factor.
“We believe what happened to Mr. Palmer was criminal,” Merritt said. The attorney added that he is hopeful that the evidence revealed throughout the legal proceedings will result in criminal charges.
He is also looking for an incident report on what actually happened in Palmer’s cell over a year ago.
Shortly after Palmer’s death, the family hired a forensic pathologist, Dr. Zhongxue Hua, to figure out what happened to their relative. “We don’t believe he committed suicide. We don’t believe that this death was accidental, which leaves one conclusion,” he said. “In our opinion, they killed him.”
According to the York Dispatch, a grand jury will be investigating his death. A notice filed by Palmer’s estate indicated that his mother is requesting to depose York County officials in connection with her son’s death. The notice also included an email exchange between York County District Attorney Dave Sunday and Daniel Purtell, an attorney representing Palmer’s family.
Purtell sent an email to Sunday back in May requesting an update on the investigation and grand jury proceedings. “Unfortunately, the only update by law I’m permitted to give is that the grand jury proceedings are ongoing and the matter continues to be under investigation,” Sunday said.
The mother filed a praecipe, “an official notice of intent to sue someone in civil court,” as well.