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Federal lawsuit in 2018 death of woman at Guilford jail has been dismissed
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Federal lawsuit in 2018 death of woman at Guilford jail has been dismissed

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March for Tasha Thomas

Raven Johnson stands with protesters in front of the Guilford County Detention Center in Greensboro on June 24, 2020. They gathered to bring attention to and find answers about the 2018 death of Tasharra “Tasha” Thomas at the Guilford County jail in Greensboro.

GREENSBORO — A federal wrongful death lawsuit against both the current and former Guilford County sheriffs in the 2018 death of a Greensboro woman at the county jail has been dismissed.

Court filings show the case was dismissed Thursday “without prejudice,” which means it can be refiled at a later date.

Rochelle Thomas-Boyd filed the lawsuit in December in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina after her daughter died while in custody at the Guilford County jail in Greensboro.

Tasha Thomas, 33, died shortly before midnight on May 2, 2018, three days after being taken into custody. She was being held on charges of felony possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

The medical examiner concluded Thomas died of “sepsis due to infective endocarditis” — an infection in the heart that usually affects the valves, “due to chronic injection drug use.”

However, Thomas’ mother suspected foul play after not being allowed to view her daughter’s body. Further investigation, according to the lawsuit, revealed Thomas’ nipples had been ripped off, she appeared to have unexplained bite marks and bruises on her body, some of her hair had been ripped out and she may have suffered broken bones.

James Secor, attorney for the sheriff’s office, has said previously that the law enforcement agency disputes the claims made in the lawsuit.

The sheriff’s office said in a news release the month after Thomas died that her infection was caused by drug abuse before her arrest and not by any conditions or lack of medical attention in the jail. The agency also said at the time that the medical examiner determined that there were no physical injuries which caused or contributed to Thomas’ death.

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