Family files federal lawsuit against Bradley Co. for inmate deat - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Family files federal lawsuit against Bradley Co. for inmate death

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Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson. Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson. Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press
BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

The family of an inmate who died while in custody is suing Bradley County, its sheriff and three correction officers for his death. 

Ralph Nelms was found hanging in his cell in September, just days after he was arraigned for a string of burglaries.  

READ MORE | Three Bradley Co. corrections officers suspended after third inmate death  

Nelms was one of three inmates who died in 2016 at the Bradley County jail.

The family is suing the county for failure to enforce official policies and customs.

They are also suing Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, saying he did not properly train correction officers or supervise the jail.

The family sued the correction officers; Gabriel Black, Ronald Reddish and Timothy Boyd for disregarding Nelms' medical needs. The three were indicted in December 2016 and charged with official misconduct.

READ MORE | Three BCSO Corrections Officers indicted for official misconduct for inmate death

The family says Nelms was on suicide watch at the time of his death, which means staff were required to check on him periodically and document it.

Investigators say those three officers failed to do the required checks, and instead forged the jail logs to show visits they didn't make.   

All three officers were charged with official misconduct. 

The family is seeking five million dollars.

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