Family of mentally ill Portsmouth man who died in jail files $60 million lawsuit

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) –  The family of Jamycheal Mitchell, the 24-year-old Portsmouth man who died while in custody at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Norfolk Federal Court seeking $60 million in damages.

Document: Read the Lawsuit

The suit names Mitchell’s aunt, Roxanne Adams, as the plaintiff. Dozens of defendants were named in the suit, including Hampton Roads Regional Jail and NaphCare, Inc., the healthcare provider for the jail at the time of Mitchell’s death. It also names Col. David Simons, Superintendent of HRRJ, and several corrections officers and sergeants. The suit also includes Lenna Jo Davis, a clerk at the Portsmouth General District Court, and Gail Hart, a former admissions employee at Eastern State Hospital.

According to a state investigation, Mitchell died of apparent starvation in August 2015 while awaiting transfer to Eastern State Hospital for a mental health evaluation. His family tells 10 On Your Side he had a history of mental illness including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

“I dont want no family to go through the same situation. Everyday we think about Jamycheal. I don’t want any family to feel the way we feel. So change is at the top of my list. I want answers, I want to know what happened. Just tell me what happened. Why it happened, how it happened, just something. We want closure, we need closure,” Mitchell’s aunt said.

Mitchell was arrested in April 2015 for stealing soda and candy valued around $5 from a 7-Eleven on George Washington Highway.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is now asking Virginia State Police to launch a criminal investigation.

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