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City Settles In Death of Prisoner at CCA-Operated Tulsa Jail

The City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has agreed to settle its part in a federal lawsuit over the death of a Native American prisoner in the Tulsa Jail. According to the November 7, 2003 settlement, the city will pay the man's family $200,000 and improve its police training program.

Shane Spencer, 27, was arrested by Tulsa police on the evening of October 24, 2001. Sometime after midnight a surveillance camera recorded police as they dragged the inebriated man into the jail and deposited his limp body face-down on the lobby floor. Left unattended by jail staff, he soon died. The troubled jail is operated on contract by the for profit Corrections Corporation of America.

As part of the settlement, police will be trained in how to recognize alcohol poisoning, and how to restrain intoxicated prisoners without suffocating them, said attorney Chris Davis, who represented the family.

"This is the result that we wanted," he said. "This case was never about the money. It was about making sure that what happened to Shane Spencer will never happen to anybody else."

Corrections Corporation of America, which operates the jail, was not part the settlement and is still a defendant in the lawsuit of. See: Burrage v. Corrections Corporation of America, USDC ND OK, Case No.03-CV-126.

Source: Tulsa World

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Related legal case

Burrage v. Corrections Corporation of America