“The man jumped some 27 feet to his death and landed about 10 feet on the concrete from where I was sitting,” Shuler said. “It’s one of the most highly trafficked areas in the cell block and had I or any other inmate been standing there and he had landed on us, it probably would have resulted in instant death for the man below. That’s just one example of many of the kinds of dangers and damages I’ve suffered from being in here for three months unlawfully because of Rob Riley and Circuit Judge Claud Neilson who have acted in absolute criminal fashion. In Neilson’s case, he has no jurisdiction over me whatsoever because I have not lawfully been served.” Shuler points to multiple irregularities in the death of Steven Ray Dismuke which indicate likely negligence on the part of Shelby County Jail. One of those involves the fact that Dismuke had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but was in the general inmate population and had not been given his medication. Following are other irregularities that Shuler has learned from observations, taking part in the jail investigation and talking to inmates who witnessed the event:
- The cell block where the suicide occurred involves a stairwell which is attached to the cell block unit by three horizontal bars and Dismuke climbed the stairs, then climbed the three horizontal bars which directly to the top of a two-story cell unit and jumped off backwards. “The three horizontal bars basically provide a ladder with easy access to the top of the cells and it’s still there because it’s never been blocked off and nothing has been put there to keep it from happening again and certainly nothing was done to keep it from happening in the first place.”
- Multiple cameras are present in the cell block and inmates said that guards are supposed to be doing video monitoring 24 hours, seven days a week, but apparently no one was on duty or was asleep at the switch when Dismuke climbed the stairwells and then climbed up the three horizontal bars to the top of the cell units and jumped off. “One has to wonder why someone was not watching and allowed this tragedy to happen,” Shuler said. “There’s clearly video monitoring equipment in here and why someone wasn’t watching and stopped this is hard to figure."
- Dismuke told Shuler and other inmates that he was traveling from Georgia to a work site in Illinois when he was stopped in Shelby County by deputies who said he was driving erratically. Dismuke admitted that he was tired and probably was weaving in traffic and deputies took his license and registration, but then let him go. He drove north to an Econo Lodge and was going to check in, but he couldn’t do it because he realized that he didn’t have his license with him and that the deputies had kept it. “He was about to leave the hotel when deputies appeared,” Shuler said. “They had followed him there and they returned his license, but then they also decided to search his vehicle even though they had no probable cause to believe there was a crime connected to that vehicle. The search produced some drugs including Xanax and some other medication, but that’s what he was arrested on, but there’s clear signs that something was irregular about the traffic stop and also the fact that deputies were trying to confiscate $3,000 that Dismuke had that he said was a payroll check that he’d cashed from his work that was not connected to drugs, but they were trying to get him to forfeit it and he was deeply upset about that.” Shuler says a federal investigation should be done on the irregular, negligent and most likely unlawful circumstances surrounding the traffic stop, Dismuke’s arrest and ultimate tragic suicide.