On a Monday afternoon in November of 2015, an inmate in the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, expressed to correctional officers that she needed assistance to not take her own life. No one came to her aid. In fact, officers appeared to have placed bets and celebrated her plight. Michigan now owes the woman’s family $860,000 after a settlement agreement was approved last week.
The woman, Janika Edmond of Adrian, Michigan, cried out to staff that she wanted “Bam Bam“—slang for anti-suicide smock—while in a shower area as she waited for an isolated cell. Edmond was well versed in both attempting suicide and attempts to prevent it. The 25-year-old woman was plagued by depressive and mood disorders, having attempted suicide in the past while incarcerated. She had even asked to be put on suicide precaution several months prior to her death.
Despite all of this, her appeal for help, and the fact that she was on mental health outpatient status at the time, correctional officers did nothing to intervene. In fact, according to a civil complaint that was reviewed by The Washington Post, at least one officer “appeared to celebrate” her plea.
Video records maintained by Michigan’s Department of Corrections show prison guard Dianna Callahan exclaiming, “Somebody owes me lunch!” before pumping her fist in the air three times, flashing a thumbs-up and repeating, “Somebody owes me lunch!” after Edmond’s request for the smock.
David Steingold, an attorney for the woman’s family told The Washington Post:
“It’s horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible. It’s a catastrophe that should never have happened if the prison officials had just done their jobs.”
But not only did prison officials not do their jobs, they placed bets on the life of an inmate.
Just after Callahan made the celebratory gesture and mentioned a sandwich, her and another prison employee began discussion her prize—a Subway sandwich. According to Steingold, correctional officers bet whether or not the 25-year-old would become suicidal yet again.
Only minutes later, choking sounds could be heard. As detailed in the complaint, no staff intervened during the several minutes that choking sounds could be heard coming from the shower area where Edmond was being held.
Janika Edmond was found 20 minutes later lying in the shower with a bra around her neck.
After finally checking on Edmond, staff administered CPR and used an external defibrillator. She still had a pulse after paramedics arrived and was transported to ST. Joseph Mercy Hospital—10 minutes away. While there, Edmond’s mother was denied and told that she was unable to have visitors. Shockingly, it took the Michigan Department of Corrections a full 24 hours to inform her family of her suicide attempt.
Four days later Janika Edmond was declared braindead. Five days after that she was pronounced dead. Edmond was scheduled to be released only five months after she took her own life.
According to the complaint, staff failed to “properly treat Edmond’s mental illness and its actions in discriminating against her and punishing her because of it, exacerbated her mental difficulties, including her suicidal ideations, and caused her suicide.”
According to a 2017 study published in the journal Lancet, female inmates are nine times more likely to die by suicide than the general female population.
Dianna Callahan, the prison guard who appeared to celebrate Edmond’s request for help, was suspended following the incident and fired the following March. According to MLive.com, Callahan and Kory Moore, the officer whom Callahan spoke with about a Subway sandwich, “were fired in March 2016 after MDOC’s internal investigation into the death. Moore was reinstated after arbitration, but later left her position.”
Callahan avoided trial last year, pleading no contest to an involuntary manslaughter charge. In February 2017, a federal lawsuit was filed along with a similar suit filed that April in county court.
The final version of the federal suit naming the Michigan Department of Corrections, along with 12 current and former employees as defendants, was filed in June of 2018. The suit sought damages for loss “love, society and companionship” on behalf of Edmond’s family.
Edmond’s aunt, Sheila Clarke, settled the case for $860,000. After fees and other costs are paid, the approximately $550,000 that remains will be split between Edmond’s two siblings.
The money is obviously insufficient for suffering such a loss. Janika Edmond knew she needed help, clearly communicated it, requesting it as needed. Yet that help was denied, her plight was made a mockery of, and, ultimately, she died at the hands of coldhearted prison staff that should have never been tasked with the responsibilities associated with overseeing, and ultimately caring for, inmates.
Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida
A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.
In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.
“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.
Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.
Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.
Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.
Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.
However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.
Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son
A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.
The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.
The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.
“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.
“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.
The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.
The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.
“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.
The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.
The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.
Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter
The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.
However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.
In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.
It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.
The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.
Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.
The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.
The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.
The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.