Shawn Michael Slavens, 46, died at 6:21 a.m. on July 11, 2022, just 15 days before his 47th birthday.
Officials with the jail say staff responded to an inmate-on-inmate altercation in a cell on June 25, 2022, at approximately 3:10 a.m.
“When staff opened the cell, they discovered Shawn Slavens unconscious but breathing, and they began to render medical aid,” said Mark Opgrande with the Oklahoma County Detention Center. “Slavens was transported to the hospital.”
Slavens has been on a ventilator in the ICU since the incident and was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
Slavens was in the ICU for 17 days before succumbing to his injuries.
His family has been questioning why Shawn was in a cell with a violent detainee in the first place and why they were never notified about his injuries.
“He’s not violent whatsoever. He like he can’t hurt a fly… Honestly I think he was weighing like 100lbs,” said Stephanie Powers, Slavens’ sister.
According to the family, Slaven suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Powers said jail is not the place for her brother, but because of his condition, that is often where he ends up.
“He’s definitely not only a mental patient, but he’s definitely been on the streets for a while, too, off and on. And the last few years, really he’s on drugs and alcohol because of his mental. He doesn’t want to take his meds… Not fully there, but he’s got a good heart. He’s a good guy,” said Powers.
Powers told KFOR she didn’t know Shawn had been arrested, let alone nearly beaten to death, until a phone call from his attorney days after he was hospitalized.
“He called me and was told that through a friend, that he was put in ICU after being in Oklahoma County jail… So, we didn’t know until two days. And I went up there on day three to see him,” said Powers.
Opgrande says an investigation by the Detention Special Investigations Unit into Slavens’ death is ongoing.
“Once the investigation is complete, the case will be screened with the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office for possible appropriate charges,” said Opgrande. “The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations has also been notified and will assist if needed.”
The State Medical Examiner’s Office will determine the officials cause and manner of death.
This is the 10th death in the Oklahoma County Detention Center in 2022.