Lawsuit filed against prison employees by family of dead inmate

GRAND RAPIDS — Ten employees of the Marquette Branch Prison, including Warden Robert Napel, are facing a federal lawsuit stemming from the death of an inmate nearly three years ago.

The family of Jeremy Garza from downstate Alma claims five correctional officers told him to kill himself. The incident occurred in April of 2014.

Garza had just returned to his cell after a visit from his mother, when he found officers removing his belongings with no explanation. Garza told them was going to kill himself.

The officers laughed and told him to ‘go ahead and do it.’ A half hour after that, officers found Garza hanging from his cell.

He was pronounced dead 50 minutes later. The Garza family is seeking $75,000 in restitution for Jeremy’s death.

All 10 prison employees- plus the Michigan Department of Corrections- were issued summons paperwork Thursday.

They have 21 days to respond. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court last week.