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Michigan AG charges 5 Muskegon County Sheriff employees after inmate death

Jail cell
Pixabay | CC BY 3.0

The Michigan Attorney General’s office announced Thursday it would file charges against five employees of the Muskegon County Sheriff’s office after the death of an inmate. Jeffery Patterson, Crystal Greve, Jamal Lane and Sgt. David Vanderlaan — and nurse Aubrey Schotts-- face involuntary-manslaughter charges after the death of inmate Paul Bulthouse, who died in jail back in April of 2019.

The five were also charged Thursday with failure to perform a legal duty.

The Attorney General’s office said the three jail guards and Sgt. Vanderlaan watched on camera as Bulthouse had 17 seizures in one night, and did nothing about it.

The Muskegon County Sheriff office said in a Thursday release that the five staff members have been “temporarily reassigned away from direct inmate supervision” pending the outcome of their criminal case, saying that “filing of charges is not proof of wrongdoing” and that “no evidence has been presented to the Sheriff’s Office by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, or otherwise, that would make any determination of wrongdoing.”

Meanwhile, Bulthouse’s family has filed a multi-million wrongful death lawsuit.  The lawsuit alleges Bulthouse had been denied Klonopin, a prescribed medication that controls seizures. All five employees face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.