OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma County Detention Center employee, wishing to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, claims an inmate nearly died because the water supply to his cell was shut off for five days.
Jorge Adams has been locked up on arson and drug paraphernalia charges since mid-January.
The anonymous employee told KFOR that on March 30, the water supply to Adams’ cell was turned off because he was having a medical procedure the next day and couldn’t have food or water after midnight.
The insider said the procedure ended up not happening, but the water supply to the inmate’s cell wasn’t turned back on.
Five days later, on April 4, Adams was allegedly found unresponsive in his cell and rushed to St. Anthony’s Hospital where ended up in the ICU.
The employee claims the doctors kept asking what happened to Adams and the detention center employees were “only allowed to say that ‘we don’t know, he was just found like that in his cell.’”
KFOR started asking the detention center questions, in an attempt to clarify Adams’ situation last Thursday. The detention center has slowly given us details and confirmed the water was indeed shut off for that five day period.
However, the center’s story about what happened has changed multiple times.
Redacting the anonymous employee’s name, we forwarded the Oklahoma County Detention Center the employee’s claim on Thursday and asked for an interview.
Our interview request was denied. But, a day later, its Administrator, Greg Williams, sent us the following statement:
“The staff of the Oklahoma County Detention Center is committed to protecting the health and safety of our detainees. Although it is inappropriate to discuss any detainee’s medical or mental health status, we can confirm we sometimes turn off water to an inmate at the request of medical personnel. When appropriate, we provide drinking water under supervision to ensure people do not harm themselves or worsen any medical conditions. Of course, we cannot force anyone to eat or drink what is offered.
We are grateful to the doctors and nurses who help provide care for the people in our custody.”
On Friday, KFOR responded that we’re aware an inmate’s medical information cannot be discussed. However, the statement did not address the accusation that the water remained off in Adams’ cell between March 30th and April 4th.
To that inquiry, Oklahoma County Detention Center Communications Director, Mark Opgrande, said, “Water service was not returned to the person in question because medical personnel were concerned about flooding and the effect on the detainee’s health. Drinking water was made available.”
We then asked if the toilet was also inoperable during that five-day period because of the lack of water supply, and asked where Adams was able to relieve himself.
Opgrande responded saying, “Yes. It won’t flush but a detainee can still use it. It would be something checked by staff and medical to make sure he was able to relieve himself.”
In a separate email he added, “In other words he would be allowed to use another toilet in the pod. Or use one in medical if he was taken there.”
Because of the word “could” in Opgrande’s response, KFOR asked for clarification about whether Adams actually was being taken in and out of his cell multiple times a day to relieve himself. We also asked if that would be on surveillance video.
Opgrande responded, “If it was needed, he would be taken to another area to go to the bathroom. Video cameras are in the pods and run 24 hours a day. I can’t confirm the movements at this time. All movements would of course be on camera.”
KFOR told Opgrande we would circle back, to give the detention center time to check their video cameras to confirm how many times Adams was allowed to use a functioning toilet during the five days his water was shut off.
However, the story changed on Sunday.
“Let me clarify after speaking with the Major. He did and does have access to the toilet. If someone in any cell had an issue with a toilet we will move them to another cell,” wrote Opgrande. “I may not have been clear with my response. A dry cell does not mean the toilet doesn’t work. Sorry for the confusion.”
The detention center’s story changed again on Monday, saying that the information from the anonymous employee was not accurate.
“The person you asked about was booked into our facility on Jan. 18. We cannot address specifics, but we can say he has been under medical care since arriving. On March 30, doctors advised us to restrict water to the detainee’s cell for his own safety and protection. To be clear: despite a lack of water supply, he was regularly offered food and drink, as well as restroom facilities,” said Opgrande. “Although the person has been to the hospital for care – and remains there now – at no time was a medical procedure scheduled or cancelled.”
Despite there allegedly being no medical procedure, Opgrande confirmed that the water in Adams’ cell was indeed shut off from March 30 to April 4.
He also said that Adams is currently in the hospital.
According to the Oklahoma County Courts Network, a motion was filed for Adams’ medical release. KFOR reached out to his lawyer, but has not heard back.