Unlawful death suit filed for Sussex County inmate
The family of an inmate killed at Sussex Correctional Institution in 2014 is suing the state’s healthcare provider, the prison’s warden and a dozen of corrections officers for their involvement in his death.
In December, attorney General Matt Denn (D) declined to charge anyone involved in the death of Ronald Shoup, despite two autopsies finding he died due to blunt force trauma while being restrained.
Read the full lawsuit complaint here.
Shoup was jailed for showing up to court drunk for a previous DUI charge. Guards eventually moved him to solitary confinement after becoming aggressive from alcohol withdrawal.
The lawsuit alleges Shoup became combative because of his withdrawal symptoms, leading to correctional officers using force to restrain him four times.
When guards rushed his cell the final time, they broke dozens of ribs due to officers putting their weight on his prone body, according to autopsies, despite Shoup not resisting against medical officials administering another shot of Ativan.
Randy Wagner, a medical examiner, told Shoup's father that his body had "a lot of bruises all over his body, more than he has ever seen," according to the suit.
Denn's December opinion recommended several changes to Department of Correction policies, including altering the way guards approach passive inmates versus hostile ones. At the time, a DOC spokesperson said they made unspecified changes to department policy, but didn't respond to questions asking him to clarify the alterations.
The civil suit is seeking monetary damages for Shoup’s young daughter.