State to pay $2.5M to family of inmate who died of thirst
State officials will pay out a $2.5 million settlement to the family of a mentally ill prisoner who died of dehydration last year five days after he was left in handcuffs in solitary confinement.Posted — Updated
Correctional officers found Michael Anthony Kerr dead on March 12, 2014, after transporting him from Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville to Central Prison in Raleigh.
While no charges have been filed, a federal investigation is ongoing.
DPS officials announced the settlement with Kerr's estate Monday afternoon. In a press release issued at 5 p.m., the department said insurance will pay $1.5 million of the $2.5 million.
Pam Walker, director of DPS Communications, referred all questions to the settlement agreement.
In the agreement, the administrator of Kerr's estate agrees to forgo any claims wrongful death and other civil action against the department for actions from Jan. 14, 2011, to March 12, 2014.
The payments "are not to be construed as an admission of liability," but the agreement does promise a letter of apology "from a high-ranking official" at DPS.
The release said the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice was committed to improving the treatment of those with mental illness, noting that 1,800 staff members had already received crisis-intervention training and that department leaders had requested more funding to improve mental health services.
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