The death of Maurice Monk, a 45-year-old man from Oakland, at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin is facing intense scrutiny following the release of body camera footage. The footage reveals that deputies ignored signs of Monk’s deteriorating health and allegedly forged records to conceal the lack of cell checks. Monk died in his single-person cell after spending three to four days without being checked on by jail staff.
The body camera footage shows a deputy entering Monk’s cell the day before his death, kicking uneaten food from the door’s entryway, and leaving without taking further action. In the days leading up to his death, other deputies passed by Monk’s cell and wondered if he was awake or alive but did not enter to check on him.
Monk had various medical conditions and schizoaffective disorder, according to court records. His family has filed a federal lawsuit against the county and Wellpath, the company responsible for providing medical care at the jail. The lawsuit, filed by East Bay civil rights attorney Adante Pointer, describes Monk’s death as an “unconscionable failure” of the Santa Rita Jail staff and accuses them of disregarding basic morality and constitutional requirements.
The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, now under the leadership of Sheriff Yesenia Sanchez, has declined to comment on Monk’s death pending the outcome of the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges that deputies falsified records to create the appearance that Monk was being checked on. When his body was discovered, he was lying face down on a mattress next to a puddle of urine and uneaten food. It is believed that he had died long before his body was found.
Monk was in jail because he could not afford the $2,500 bond required for his release. He had been charged with threatening a bus driver, a misdemeanor, during an argument over wearing a face mask on a bus, according to court records.