Cobb County, GA — Because the state claims control over our bodies and tells us what we can and can’t put in them, they will kidnap, cage, and often kill us for possessing or ingesting substances they prohibit. Despite decades of data and studies showing the negative and deadly consequences of prohibition, the government continues to wage their immoral war on drugs and it continues to lay waste to the lives anyone involved. Kevil Wingo, 36, was one of those lives.
Last September, Wingo was kidnapped by police and thrown in a cage in the Cobb County Detention Center because he had one of these prohibited substances in his possession. Just days after being thrown in a cage, Wingo would be dead, having spent the last few moments of his life begging for help that he would never receive.
According to 11Alive, the details of Wingo’s death were concealed for nine months until the sheriff’s office finished its internal affairs investigation in June. Despite the horrifying neglect that you will see in the video below, after investigating themselves, officials claimed no staff member committed a crime or went against jail policy, nor was any disciplinary action recommended.
Wingo’s family and now many others, disagree with the results of this so-called “investigation.”
In their scathing report on the situation, 11 Alive describes it as follows:
When Wingo arrived on Sept. 24, the jail placed him into the infirmary for “detoxification monitoring.” Staff prescribed medicine to treat nausea after he told the jail he used cocaine within the past 72 hours. Three days later, deputies returned him to the general population.
On Sept. 28, Wingo complained he had severe abdominal pain. Fellow inmates, deputies and some medical staff immediately noticed Wingo appeared ill.
One of them included Deputy Matthew Howard, who called the infirmary.
“He has been throwing up for a while now since I came on shift,” said Howard to a charge nurse named Yvette Burton. The nurse then asked the deputy if he saw Wingo vomit. “Yes, ma’am. I’ve seen him throwing up,” said Howard.
Moments later, another nurse called to report that Wingo was in distress. “He’s like, laying on the floor screaming, he’s sweating. He says he’s got abdominal pain. He can’t fake this,” Natasha Chance said to Burton.
But these calls fell on deaf ears to deputies and nurses who thought Wingo was simply detoxing.
“Within a couple of seconds, he just broke out in a big, big sweat,” said Billy Smith, a fellow inmate. “[Deputies] looking at us, like ‘He’s just detoxing.’ We’re like, ‘No, you need to come get him.”
“What happened is the guy was in pain and nobody took him serious. He was laying on the ground crying for help and no one took him seriously,” said another inmate Robert Ward.
A little before midnight, jail footage shows a Deputy Quintin Appleby transferring Wingo to the infirmary in a wheelchair as he winces in pain. Appleby said he also heard Wingo complain about a ulcer.
“He was saying, ‘I’m not going to make it. I’m about to fall out the wheelchair.’ And, I was kind of like, ‘No, you gonna be alright, we almost there,” said Appleby.
Wingo was then wheeled into a glass room where he collapsed and began begging for his life, saying “please help, I can’t breathe.” But, like so many cops say as they squeeze the life from people saying the same thing, staffers told Wingo that he could breathe.
“When he yelled at me, yelling in the cell block, he said, ‘I need to go to the hospital, I can’t breathe.’ And, I talked to him for a minute, and I was like, ‘If you’re hollering, you are breathing,’” said Lynn Marshall, a deputy assigned to the infirmary.
But they were wrong.
“He actually fell backwards onto the floor and crawled to the window and was asking again begging for help, saying he could not breathe,” said lab technician Tiffany Womack in an interview with sheriff investigators.
Despite the fact that Wingo was in clear distress, officials refused to even take his vitals.
Deputy Marshall accused Wingo of “playing games” and was going to throw him in a padded room for people who want to harm themselves.
“I’ve got an idiot playing games trying to get to the hospital. He’s just playing around,” Deputy Marshall said as he requested a padded room.
11 Alive reports what happened next:
When jail staff placed Wingo inside the padded room 7:48 a.m., they stripped him of his clothes, left two cups of water inside and closed the door.
Jail policy requires staff to physically look inside isolation rooms every 15 minutes. According to jail video, that didn’t happen.
When it’s time to check on Wingo, Deputy Paul Wilkerson, who was assigned to monitor him, walks past the pad’s window two different times and does not look inside.
Within an hour of placing Wingo in the padded room, Wilkerson found him cold to the touch and not breathing.
Thirty minutes later, an ambulance transported him to Wellstar Kennestone Hospital five miles away. A doctor pronounced Wingo dead at 9:51 a.m.
Wingo hadn’t harmed anyone. He was merely caught with a substance the state says he can’t have. When the state kidnapped him for it, they proved that they couldn’t care less about his wellbeing and and ignored him until he died. Had they had one ounce of compassion or cared at all, Wingo’s death was easily preventable.
“At the end of the day, I feel like he shouldn’t have died like that. Like, he died alone. He died in a room screaming for help and he’s asking y’all for help,” said Tiffany Wingo, his sister.
Wingo leaves behind three children.
“How can so many people just sit around and watch somebody suffer like that and not help?” she said.
Sadly, as TFTP has reported, it happens all the time.