Minnesota jail workers ignored inmate’s pleas for help as he crawled around on the floor of prison in pain before he died of perforated bowel, lawsuit claims

By Harriet Alexander For Dailymail.com

06:51 25 Jan 2024, updated 07:29 25 Jan 2024

  • Lucas Bellamy, 41, was arrested in Minneapolis on July 18, 2022 on charges of fleeing police in a suspected stolen vehicle and possession of brass knuckles
  • Bellamy, who had struggled with addiction for many years, told police he had swallowed a bag of drugs and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center
  • He was then returned to the cells, where he pleaded for medical help but died in agony from a perforated bowel: his family on Tuesday filed a lawsuit 

A Minnesota man died in agony inside a jail after days crawling on the floor begging staff for help, his family have claimed.

Lucas Bellamy, 41, died from a perforated bowel behind bars on July 21, 2022.

Shocking footage from inside Hennepin County jail shows Bellamy on his hands and knees on the concrete, as staff look on. At one point he struggles to pull himself up onto a chair. A guard leans against the wall, looking on, as Bellamy writhes in pain. 

On Tuesday, his parents and sister held a press conference to demand justice for Lucas, and to call for reform to the way inmates are treated. 

They said Lucas was treated like ‘he was subhuman, like he was an animal.’

Lucas Bellamy, 41, died in Hennepin County jail in Minneapolis in July 2022
Bellamy is seen crawling on the floor in agony as staff looked on

Bellamy, who had a long history of drug abuse, had been arrested for driving a stolen car and having brass knuckles
He initially went to hospital, but was discharged with instructions to return if he took a turn for the worse. Bellamy was visibly unable to stand, but was still not taken back to hospital

His father Louis Bellamy, founder of the well-known Penumbra Theatre in St. Paul, said that the horror of Lucas’ death was beyond anything a director could ever create.

‘I’ve made my living as a theater director. I know how to construct tragedy on stage,’ he said on Tuesday. 

‘And I can tell you honestly that I could not have built anything more callous, more disrespectful to humanity, human existence, than what I witnessed on that tape.

‘It can’t go unanswered, those people who chose to disregard his pleas for help.’ 

Lucas was arrested on July 18, 2022 on charges of fleeing police in a suspected stolen vehicle and possession of brass knuckles.

During jail intake, Lucas, who had a long history of battling drug addiction, told staff that he had ingested a bag of drugs and was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, known as HCMC, the suit said. 

He was monitored and returned to jail with instructions to return to the emergency department if he exhibited any concerning symptoms.

The Bellamy family’s attorney, Jeff Storms, showed the news media video of Lucas’ interactions with nurses and jail guards. 

The last clip revealed him just behind his cell door, the lower half of his body slowly moving about until he went still and died – four days after his arrest.

‘Lucas spent the last day of his life… desperately begging nurses and jail guards to see a doctor,’ the suit states.

‘Lucas could have been saved with proper treatment. Instead, he endured a real-life nightmare and died.’ 

Bellamy is seen on his bed in the jail, in agony. He died from a perforated bowel
Bellamy is seen curled up on the floor, unable to stand
The Bellamy family is now seeking justice for their son, and to shine a light on other deaths inside the jail
Sarah Bellamy, Lucas’ sister, said she hopes no other families will experience the pain of their family

The lawsuit, obtained by The Star-Tribune, names as individual defendants nurses Roselene Omweri, Kay Willis and Michelle Diaz, and Deputy Lucas Weatherspoon. Hennepin County and the medical center are also named in the suit.

Colleen Bellamy, Lucas’ mother, said the workers assigned to her son’s care were ‘standing back, as if this little skinny helpless human being was a danger to them.’ 

She added: ‘He had begged, he had crawled on all-fours until he couldn’t even move on all-fours. He just collapsed like Jell-O.’ 

Lucas’ sister, Sarah, said their family hope the lawsuit will shed light on the 14 other cases of inmates dying inside the jail since 2015, amid allegations of neglect.

‘We hope as a family that by raising awareness about how my brother died that we can prevent the abuse and willful neglect that Lucas suffered,’ she told reporters. 

Storms, the attorney, said he is calling on Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison to investigate.

‘Lucas could have been saved with proper treatment,’ the suit said. ‘Instead, he endured a real-life nightmare and died.’

Storms added: ‘Too often, they look at these individuals and they’ll have the attitude that you’re in jail. 

‘We think your faking, we think you’re lying to us. We don’t think you’re worthy of our care. 

‘They have every stupid reason you could possibly think of, when everyone of us can look at this and say this man needs a doctor.’ 

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