Lawsuit filed in death of 18-year-old inmate who allegedly vomited blood, asked for care 

Deborah McBride said her teenage son was healthy and had a normal life expectancy before dying in jail last June.

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A lawsuit has been filed in Jefferson County, Arkansas, against the county and the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Detention Center, where 18-year-old Dezman McBride died last year after being injured in a fight with another inmate. 

McBride was booked into jail on May 21, 2021, for failure to appear on criminal charges. He was involved in a fight on the morning of June 1, according to Arkansas Online, in which he was hit and head-butted. The lawsuit alleges that McBride complained of pain and fatigue and that other inmates saw him vomiting blood. 

Dezman McBride, 18, died last May at the W.C. “Dub” Brassell Detention Center in Jefferson County, Arkansas after being injured in a fight with another inmate. (Photo: Screenshot/

Additionally, the lawsuit says that a sergeant witnessed and interrupted the fight, yet did not report the incident until the next day, a violation of Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office’s common practice and policy for detention facilities. 

McBride was transported for care the night of the fight to a local hospital, where he was prescribed magnesium citrate for constipation and sent back to the detention center. The lawsuit alleges that the medicine was not administered to the man. Over the next three days, he reportedly complained of further medical issues, including not being able to see and pain in his head and stomach, as well as a large knot on his head from the earlier fight. 

The lawsuit states that on June 5, McBride was found unable to clean and dress himself after defecating and urinating and asked for help getting to the shower. Lt. Samuel Baker, with another inmate, aided him, undressed him, and he laid there for a half-hour until another jailed man helped him. McBride allegedly begged Baker and inmates to reach out to his mother. Instead, McBride was left to lie on the cell floor, and was given underwear, a jumpsuit and a blanket. Baker observed McBride in distress but did not seek medical care until later that morning when he was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. 

Deborah McBride, the late inmate’s mother, is named as the plaintiff in the lawsuit. She alleges that her teenage son was healthy, with a normal life expectancy, before dying in jail. She is seeking more than $200,000 for pain, suffering and medical expenses and has asked for a trial by jury. 

In her lawsuit, the grieving mother alleges that Jefferson County and the jail willfully and wantonly disregarded McBride’s rights and safety and were deliberately indifferent when they intentionally mistreated him during his confinement, carelessly and with extreme negligence, failing to provide an appropriate standard of care.

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