Jail inmate Bernard Scott spent 11 days in a coma and some three weeks in the hospital in 2014 after police in Pine Lawn, Mo., reportedly blocked him from being taken to the hospital.
Pine Lawn Jail

The Bernard Scott story is a convoluted tale of traffic fines, a stay in a holding cell, an emergency room visit reportedly canceled by police officials and a reported hanging.

Let's start at the beginning.

Scott, 44, was arrested in September 2014 and taken to the Pine Lawn, Mo., jail in St. Louis County, where he was held on $360 bail for traffic violations.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, during Scott's time in custody, he began having abdominal pain. After he was checked by a paramedic from the Northeast Fire Protection District, it was recommended that Scott be taken to the ER.

Scott had begun to change from his prison jumpsuit back into his street clothes so that he could make the trip to the hospital when a police supervisor reportedly canceled the trip, according to the paramedic's notes viewed by the Post-Dispatch.

Fourteen minutes later, Scott was found unconscious and stiff inside his cell. Police would report that his posture would indicate possible brain damage. They also said that Scott had attempted to hang himself using a shoelace tied to the back of his cell.

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"Why would I hang myself?" Scott, who eventually recovered, told the Post-Dispatch in a recent interview. "I was in on traffic tickets."

Scott told the newspaper that the last thing he remembers is calling family to ask for bail money and that he definitely doesn't remember attempting to hang himself.

Scott added that he was in a coma for 11 days and in the hospital for some three weeks before he was released.

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According to the Post-Dispatch, none of the reports from the paramedic and officers on the scene the day Scott was found unconscious indicate the same chain of events. The paramedic's report indicates that jail officials were asked two separate times if they would allow Scott to be taken to the hospital and that both times, the paramedic says, he was denied. The officers' reports indicate that they found no reason for Scott to be taken to the hospital.

Scott told the Post-Dispatch that "the first ambulance driver wanted to take me with him, but the guy wouldn't let me leave." He also said he remembered that after the ambulance left, an officer "told me he wasn't going to let me out of jail unless I bonded out."

The Post-Dispatch points out several issues with the supposed investigation into exactly what happened the day Scott was found unconscious, the biggest being that the man picked to head up the investigation, Sgt. Willie Epps, is also the same police official who reportedly blocked Scott from leaving to go to the hospital, a claim that Epps denies.

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Epps says that he wasn't present when the paramedic sought permission to transfer Scott from the jail. In fact, Epps says that he had left the jail for 10 minutes during that time.

"What I wrote is what happened," Epps told the Post-Dispatch.

The Post-Dispatch did not indicate whether Scott planned to file a lawsuit against the county, but did note that Scott is currently being held in the St. Louis County Jail on a probation violation in an unrelated theft case.  

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Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.