Mother of Jail Inmate Killed In Hostage Incident Files Suit

The mother of a fatally shot inmate has filed wrongful death claims against the Oklahoma County Jail, the jail trust and the Oklahoma City Police Department.

Rhonda Lambert filed the claims on Thursday on behalf of herself and her son’s estate.

The incident occurred last year.

The inmate, Curtis Montrell Williams, was shot March 27 after taking a senior detention officer hostage on the 10th floor of the jail.

Mr. Williams, a rape defendant, died later at a hospital.

An Oklahoma City police lieutenant, Coy Gilbert, fired the fatal shot as the inmate held a sharpened makeshift weapon to the hostage’s throat, according to a police investigation.

Inmates used the hostage’s cellphone to stream parts of the hour-long event on Facebook.  They complained loudly about jail conditions.

“We hungry.  We want food,” Mr. Williams yelled, looking directly into the cellphone camera. 

“We got mold on the trays.   We can’t take showers.”

Mrs. Lambert is blaming her son’s death on “negligence, inadequate training, inadequate conditions at the jail” and civil rights violations.

She is seeking in excess of $10,000 in her claim against the police and in excess of $10,000 in her claim against the jail and the jail trust.

“I knew Curtis for 34 years and I know for sure that he would not just go out and kidnap anyone,” his mother said at a news conference two days after his death. 

“Conditions in the jail caused my son and so many others like him to lose self-control.”

The hostage, Daniel Misquez, is expected to file his own claim against the jail trust soon.   He never returned to work after his ordeal, resigning officially on May 27.

Police Chief Wade Gourley defended his officers’ actions at a news conference April 2 at the police department as protesters shouted outside and banged on windows.

“The officers have to go in,” the chief said.  “They have to try and rescue this hostage because of the situation.  We can’t sit there and watch him be brutalized anymore and possibly killed.”

Jail officials acknowledged longstanding staffing problems after the ordeal and said they have been trying to fix other problems as they come up.

“Some of the reports that I hear about make it sound like that this is a widespread, continuing kind of thing and I think most of those are isolated incidents,” the jail administrator, Greg Williams, said.

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