The Other Side of the Story
Suicide Attempt of Denver E. Bowen
Denver Bowen is one of the characters in the "Excessive or Justified Force" story, and the sequence of events leading to his attempted suicide began there. The enclosed "suicide" write- up blames it on a letter from his wife. That is a half truth, as staff harassment was also to blame for his depression, of course, this will never be in a report.
The story is a little confusing because he does not explain that he feels threatened because he potentially has information questioning the veracity of the public statement made by the Sheriff's Dept. concerning the inmate recently found dead in the booking area of the jail.
On November 26, 2003, on B-1 of the Record Searchlight, it was reported a David Lee Scott, 36, was found dead in a jail cell in the booking area where he was housed alone during a routine cell check at 1:26 a.m. according to investigator Bart Langley.
Three inmates had been on suicide watch; Scott, the one found dead; Bowen; and, Harris. How did Scott get moved to booking? He should have been in a safety cell in medical. Bowen questions how this could be approved when this removal from suicide watch requires a release from Mary Barnes, the Staff Psychologist, who would not have been available until the following Monday morning. Also, when on suicide watch they must be checked every 10 minutes and a log sheet on the door signed. Bowen stated verbally that they would come much less often and sign for several time checks at one time.
The second Bowen statement came after he filed numerous grievances over several different areas of alleged jail treatment, and was taken downstairs and threatened. Apparently he has touched some sensitive areas.
Now to two statements written by Denver Bowen:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:
I am incarcerated at the Shasta County Jail and the following is a description of events that leave me in fear for my life.
On November 22, inmate Denver Bowen cut his wrist (arm actually) in an attempt to commit suicide. (See Attached Report #2003-1451.)
Inmates David Scott and Will Harris were both on suicide watch at this time, one being held in a booking cell on suicide watch and one being held in medical in a safety cell. In booking was inmate Harris, in medical was inmate Scott Bowen was then placed in the medical safety cell after staff moved inmate Scott. Deputy Clemens was on duty in medical at this time. Deputy Edmund Bennett made a statement that inmate Scott had better not cause problems in booking and another officer who's identity is unknown replied, "if he does we will go back in."
It should be noted inmate Scott had several times had altercations with staff, several of which brought about rather rough handling of inmate Scott. One such occasion having Deputy Jack McCormick dragging inmate Scott around the POD (housing unit) in C-3.
After moving inmate Scott he was left on suicide watch along with Harris and Bowen, there is no way to come off of suicide watch until seen by Mary Barnes and as this was on Saturday, November 22, 2003, she would not be in until early Monday, November 24, 2003. In fact not until after the time when staff claim to have found inmate Scott.
I know this to be true, for I am inmate Denver Bowen. After reading in the newspaper of the death of inmate Scott, I wondered why it was never stated that he was on suicide watch and although I have been waiting for some report on the autopsy, I have not yet seen one. I know there was no excitement in the medical before 3 a.m. on Monday November 24, 2003, as I was awake till then so I don't see how he could have been found at the time jail staff say he was found, as I'm sure a death would cause some excitement among medical staff. And knowing the unjust treatment this inmate had previously received at the hands of jail staff, I'm left to wonder and fear what really happened. This is a very real fear as I feel if something "underhanded" did transpire with inmate Scott, then the same could happen to any of us and, as in suddenly becoming the target of unwanted attention, which I believe is due to staff over-hearing me talking of this with anther inmate who refuses to be named, I fear something being done to me.
On 12-15-03 I returned from court and was told the LT. Wanted to speak to me, I was sent to the booking area a normally busy area that was empty as far as I could see. LT. Compomizzo took me into a holding cell and began arguing with me about complaints I have lodged. Once I saw it was getting no where, I stated I would just like my request grievance forms answered and that I did not want to talk to him no more, at which time Compomizzo got right up in my face to the point that I had to lean backwards, and stated if I disrespect his officers I will be moved back to the housing unit where I tried to kill myself on 11-22-03. I stated I'm not going to disrespect any officers, he then got closer stating if I become a problem they will deal with me. I have been in fear recently and this only increases my worry, because after LT. Compomizzo removed his face from mine, I noticed I was surrounded by officers with not a witness in sight. Furthermore, my Attorney had just told me to be careful not to piss off jail staff as I might end up getting myself beat up. If something happens I just want to be sure someone out there is aware of this.
Signed, Denver Bowen