Before it killed him, the beating that Chadwick Shane Cochran suffered in a Los Angeles jail may have brought back terrifying memories, according to the Los Angeles Times. The attack last month was not the first time the system failed to protect the mentally ill man while he was in custody, according to a civil rights lawsuit. Four years ago, the suit alleged, Georgia prison guards choked and karate-chopped Cochran after he was pulled from a class for mentally ill inmates and vomited on an officer’s shoe.
Cochran led a life of drug abuse and petty crime, as he struggled with depression and paranoia. He was making frequent trips to state hospitals, but the treatment never seemed to help, his relatives say. His paranoia, possibly triggered by a methamphetamine binge, landed him at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles, where he was killed by other inmates who mistakenly believed he was an informant. A Times profile of Cochran’s life and death raises questions about why he was in jail, not a mental hospital, and why he had not been protected from other inmates.