By Ruben Castaneda
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The mother of a man who died in the Prince George's County jail less than 48 hours after he was arrested in the slaying of a police officer announced yesterday the filing of a lawsuit that accuses one or more guards of killing the inmate.
The lawsuit, which seeks more than $153 million in damages, was filed in Circuit Court on Monday, the first anniversary of inmate Ronnie L. White's death. Bobby Henry, an attorney for Angela White, said it "will seek to right the injustice of the death of Ronnie White."
The state medical examiner's office concluded that White, 19, died of asphyxiation and ruled his death a homicide. White had been charged with murder in the slaying of Cpl. Richard S. Findley.
Investigators concluded early on that only one guard had access to White's cell. And they found that the guard, Cpl. Anthony McIntosh, gave conflicting statements and failed an initial polygraph test when asked, "Did you put something around Ronnie White's neck?"
Yet an exhaustive probe found no proof that McIntosh harmed the inmate. In fact, after a series of unusual attempts to re-create White's final moments, investigators wrote that it was "possible" that the inmate killed himself.
Last month, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said that unless new evidence emerges, he does not expect to charge anyone in White's death.
The lawsuit names the county, McIntosh and two other guards who were assigned to the cellblock where White died: Ramon Davis and Russell Hardesty. Attorneys for McIntosh and Hardesty declined to comment. Davis's attorney could not be reached.
A spokesman for County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) said officials would not comment. Clothilda Harvey, attorney for the Prince George's County Correctional Officers Association, said: "The evidence doesn't support murder. It leans toward suicide."