The mother of a newborn who died in Milwaukee County Jail last July has filed a claim notice against the office of Sheriff David Clarke that holds jail staffers responsible for the death.
Shadé Swayzer’s lawyer, Jason Jankowski, wrote that Swayzer told a corrections officer she was going into labor around midnight, but that the officer laughed and ignored her, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
The notice of claim, which generally gives agencies a chance to respond to allegations before a lawsuit is filed, says Swayzer is seeking $8.5 million in damages.
The infant was one of four people who’ve died in a Milwaukee County jail cell since April. In September, a man died of dehydration in the jail after guards ignored his pleas for water
The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office said Swayzer never told jail staff she was going into labor. The company responsible for medical care at the jail has said Swayzer’s child was stillborn.
However Swayzer has claimed her child was “born alive, cried profusely and was breastfed.”
An autopsy was conducted on the infant, but results have not yet been released.
Sheriff’s officials have refused to provide details about the death, and a spokeswoman for Sheriff David Clarke said the office would have no further comment.
Clarke, a lightning rod of the radical right, has a history of making shocking statements and performing bizarre acts. He’s blasted Black Lives Matter as a racist group and, using a school-boy insult that was later borrowed by Donald Trump, accused Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele — his political nemesis — of having a small penis. Clarke was widely criticized for cutting security for President Obama when he visited Milwaukee. After one of his budget requests was denied, Clarke asked Milwaukee County citizens to take up arms and help his deputies.
Clarke has a penchant for filing frivilous lawsuits that amuse his white, suburban Republican base but that have cost county taxpayers over $400,000.
Multiple sources report that Clarke, who campaigned strongly for Trump, is under consideration for a job in Donald Trump’s administration, possibly as head of Homeland Security.