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Press Release

Four St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, Correctional Officers Charged with Violating the Civil Rights of an Inmate Resulting in her Death

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Louisiana

WASHINGTON – A grand jury today indicted four correctional officers from the St. Bernard Parish Prison in Chalmette, Louisiana, for violating the civil rights of inmate Nimali Henry by deliberately ignoring serious medical needs that led to her death.  The indictment was announced by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite of the Eastern District of Louisiana and Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey S. Sallet of the FBI’s New Orleans Division.

The indictment charges that Captain Andre Dominick, Corporal Timothy Williams, Deputy Debra Becnel and Deputy Lisa Vaccarella each knew that Henry had serious medical conditions and willfully failed to provide her with necessary medical attention.  As a result of the lack of medical attention, Henry died at the St. Bernard Parish Prison on April 1, 2014.  The indictment also charges each of the defendants with making a false statement to the FBI.

The civil rights charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison and each false statement charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.  

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence of guilt.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s New Orleans Division with Special Agent Matthew Russell as the case agent.  The case is being prosecuted jointly by Trial Attorney Christine M. Siscaretti of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Chandra Menon of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Updated February 4, 2016

Civil Rights