A 23-year-old gay man who suffered from bipolar disorder died by suicide in prison after he was subjected to homophobic taunts and denied access to mental health services, his partner has alleged.
The man, identified as Marcus Neil Middleton, was found dead in his cell at Noble County Jail in the US state of Indiana on October 4, 2017.
Attempts were made to revive Middleton when he was found by prison staff during a routine cell check, however he was declared dead at the scene.
The events leading up to his death are now subject to a lawsuit pending hearing in the US Federal District Court for Northern Indiana.
In paperwork filed by Middleton’s partner, it is alleged that throughout his incarceration, Middleton was “continuously mocked, harassed, threatened, and denied mental health treatment,” the Kendallville News-Sun reported.
Middleton, who worked at a Subway restaurant, had been treated for severe depression and bipolar disorder prior to his arrest, but allegedly had requests for mental health treatment denied by prison authorities.
Applications for protective custody were also denied despite numerous alleged threats to his safety.
Court documents claim that Middleton was, “repeatedly threatened with harm by fellow inmates and discriminatorily mocked and taunted by jail guards because of his sexuality.”
It is also alleged that prison authorities were warned that Middleton’s mental health was deteriorating, with those warnings being ignored.
The lawsuit specifically names Noble County Sheriff Doug Harp, jail commander Capt. Shane Coney and the jail’s staff.
Middleton was arrested and taken into custody on September 11, 2017 on two misdemeanor charges of false informing and resisting law enforcement, with Mr Middleton unable or unwilling to pay the bail that was set at $75,000 USD.
Obituaries stated Middleton loved spending time with his family, friends and dogs. He is survived by his partner, parents, and three sisters.
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