On Wednesday June 24, protesters held a demonstration outside the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department’s administrative offices in the Otto Zenke building in downtown Greensboro.
The protest was held to support a former inmate, Tasharra Lachelle Thomas, who had died in custody in the Greensboro Detention Center after being arrested by the Greensboro Police Department.
Thomas had been in the jail three days prior to her death and, in the two years since, some have questioned whether events inside the jail contributed to her death.
After the protest, the Sheriff’s Department put out a press release pointing out several facts – first, that Thomas’ death took place ten months before current Sheriff Danny Rogers took over the department. Rogers won the sheriff’s seat in the November 2018 election and was sworn in in early December of that year.
The press release states that HIPAA regulations under federal medical privacy laws prevent the department from sharing Thomas’ medical information. However, the release added that the state medical examiner did release a report on August 3, 2018, and that the report is public record.
According to that report, Thomas died from an infection in her heart tissue — “sepsis due to infective endocarditis.”
The release also stats that the medical examiner noted that the infection was caused by events that occurred before Thomas’s arrest – not by any conditions or lack of medical attention in the jail.
It went on to add that the state medical examiner also determined that there were no physical injuries that caused or contributed to Thomas’ death.
The release from the department states, “At the demonstration today, Sheriff Rogers spoke briefly with Rochelle Thomas Boyd—the mother of Tasharra Thomas. Sheriff Rogers has known Ms. Boyd for a number of years and expressed again his sympathy for her loss. The Sheriff’s Staff is also working with the Attorney representing the Estate of Tasharra Thomas to share all available information.”
The release adds, “Although it is clear the State Medical Examiner found no evidence of any Jail neglect or foul play resulting in Ms. Thomas’ death, Sheriff Rogers remains committed to cooperating and sharing all available information with Ms. Thomas’ Mother and the representatives of the Estate.”