MECKLENBURG COUNTY, N.C. — The Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Garry McFadden are facing a lawsuit in connection to a juvenile who died by suicide while in the Mecklenburg County Jail.
The family of the detainee, who is referred to in the press release as "D.W.", is represented by Littlejohn Law, PLLC, and Tin Fulton Walker & Owens.
According to the lawsuit, the incident occurred at the Mecklenburg County Jail North facility on Nov. 21, 2020.
Prior to the incident, D.W. dealt with "childhood trauma, depression, substance abuse, and family tragedy," the release states. He also experienced time in and out of detention centers. During that time, officials with Rockingham County, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and Mecklenburg County were allegedly aware that D.W. was a high risk for suicide.
Lawyers said agencies failed to utilize the North Carolina Juvenile Online Information Network (NC-JOIN), a technology designed to facilitate open communication among state and local law enforcement agencies that interact with juveniles, to be sure that information was passed along to different agencies.
In November 2020, D.W. was housed at the facility in the custody of the Juvenile Justice Section of the Department of Public Safety by way of an agreement between two agencies. The lawsuit alleges Mecklenburg County jail failed to conduct routine tours of the jail wing that D.W. was assigned to while in their custody.
The lawsuit also stated the corrections staff "falsified public records to suggest that they had checked on D.W.'s wellbeing at proper intervals when they had not."
WCNC Charlotte has reached out to the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office for response.