WESA, 10/17/23: “The family of a man who died at Allegheny County Jail filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging that the jail, county, and Allegheny Health Network created a culture in which incarcerated people with disabilities are discriminated against and their medical needs are left unmet, resulting in the wrongful death of Anthony Talotta and others.
Talotta, who had autism and intellectual disabilities, was incarcerated on Sept. 10, 2022 after he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a caretaker at the group home where he lived. Ten days later, Talotta was found unresponsive in his cell on a mental health pod and transferred to UPMC Mercy Hospital. He was pronounced dead on Sept. 21, 2022. Jail administrators released Talotta from custody hours before his death.
According to the complaint, medical staff in the jail’s intake department knew that Talotta, 57, had intellectual and developmental disabilities that would have made managing his life in jail ‘nearly impossible.’ They noted in his record that Talotta had ‘severe mental retardation, autism, anxiety, and depression … [and] appeared to be vulnerable and very child like [sic],’ though the lawsuit adds that the conditions weren’t properly documented later.