NAACP members, health care staff meet to discuss inmate deaths
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Representatives of the Salisbury-Rowan Chapter of the NAACP plan to meet Wednesday with health care providers for the Rowan County Detention Center.
Scott Teamer, president of the local chapter, said the organization requested the meeting after getting calls from local residents concerned about two recent deaths at the jail.
Vernon Mitchell Hall, 62, of Cleveland, was found unresponsive in his bunk around 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 14. Timothy Lamonte Barber, 51, of Salisbury, was found unresponsive in his bunk at shortly before 11 p.m. on Jan. 10.
In both cases, jail employees called emergency responders who tried unsuccessfully to revive the men. The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said both deaths were from natural causes.
Teamer said relatives of the men were among those who contacted the local NAACP, which in turn asked Sheriff Kevin Auten to set the meeting with the health care providers.
He said privacy regulations prevent the health care providers contracted by the jail from discussing specific cases, so the organization will be asking in general about what care is provided and how it’s provided.
“We’re just trying to get familiar with how they’re providing the coverage and what kind of process they’re following,” he said. “We want a little bit more information in trying to understand from their perspective what’s going on.”
And Teamer said of inmates at the county jail, “We just want to make sure they’re getting adequate health care coverage as required by the law.”
Auten could not be reached for comment.