UPDATE: Iberia Sheriff responds to inmate death - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

UPDATE: Iberia Sheriff responds to inmate death

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Richard Lumpkin Richard Lumpkin

Updated at 3 p.m. Friday with Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal's response. He says the inmate was immediately given medical attention after complaining he did not feel well, an ambulance was called and he later died at a hospital. 

An Iberia Parish Jail inmate died early Tuesday morning after complaining of medical issues at the jail. 

The Iberia Parish Coroner says the inmate, 56-year-old Richard Lumpkin, collapsed at the jail, but Sheriff Louis Ackal disputed that Friday. He said after Lumpkin complained he was not feeling well, he was examined at the jail's nurse's station and Ackal says an ambulance was immediately called. Lumpkin later died at a hospital, Ackal said.

"If they ask for medical attention, they're brought to medical immediately," Ackal said.

The cause and manner of death for the inmate, 56-year-old Richard Lumpkin of New Iberia, has not yet been determined, according to a preliminary autopsy obtained by our investigative team. The report, however, says Lumpkin had no physical injuries and suffered from with heart and lung diseases. He died at 2:05 a.m. Tuesday.

Lumpkin's family said that Lumpkin was asking for medical attention leading up to his death, but it took hours for him to get help.

"They said first he was having stomach problems and then he couldn't breathe," said Lumpkin's nephew, Troy Lumpkin. "That's when one of the guys in the room with him beat on the door for security, but they say it was three hours before they came."

Ackal disputed this Friday and said the family is "full of it." 

"It wasn't 3 hours to get to medical, it was 3 minutes," Ackal said.

Lumpkin was being held in the jail since October on a parole violation, according to information obtained by our media partners at The Acadiana Advocate. Family members say he was scheduled to be released on May 30.

Family members say that they have not been able to get information from the Sheriff's Office.

"The sheriff keeps putting them (family meetings) on hold until they have to hang up," said niece Norteisha Stokes. "Nobody is trying to contact us and let us know what happened. We're just lost...we're lost. We're just going, 'Oh we heard this we heard that,' but we just want answers."

Ackal added that he is not aware of any other times that Lumpkin asked for medical attention. Ackal contacted KATC to answer some questions on Friday after our story aired Thursday. 

"I heard, 'an inmate died? Did you kill him?' I'm sick of it," Ackal said.

Our original requests for information from the sheriff's office and their attorney went unanswered on Thursday, and we were told since the spokesman left the department, no one was answering media questions.

Lumpkin's death comes as practices at the Iberia Parish Jail are under federal scrutiny. Ackal, and his second-in-command Lt. Col. Gerald "Bubba" Savoy are awaiting trial for federal civil rights violations. Nine former deputies pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal civil rights violations in the same investigation stemming from inmate beatings in the jail chapel.

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