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Phillip David Anderson, 49
Tuscaloosa , Alabama
February 14, 2015

Agencies: Alabama State Bureau of Investigation | Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office Alabama

Last updated: 8 months ago

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A Tuscaloosa family is seeking justice for their loved one who died after being in jail.

Family attorney David Schoen on behalf of the family of Phillip Anderson filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The lawsuit alleges that Anderson died as a result of being held at the Tuscaloosa County Jail.  Anderson was arrested in February 2015 during a traffic stop for an outstanding child support warrant. His family claims he spent seven days in jail and complained about being in pain. He was eventually taken to the hospital where he died.

“And again as the lawsuit alleges, his screams were not only ignored and rejected, he was belittled and called a faker,” Schoen said. “The family eventually decided to bring this lawsuit because they are committed to seeing this never happens again to the best of their ability to anyone else who comes to this jail.”

His sister Kimberly Coats wants justice.

“I think there are some bad apples in every group, and in the Tuscaloosa County Jail there are officers there should just not be there,” Coats said.

Attorney David Schoen says Anderson had an ulcer that had perforated, causing his intense pain at the jail and leaving his stomach distended, classic symptoms of a duodenal ulcer that should have been obvious as such to jailers and medical staff.

“He literally, according to eyewitness accounts, literally was lying down on the floor most of the time, screaming and writhing in pain,” Schoen said. “He was called a malingerer, a faker, he was told to get up, that he was just trying to get out of work or to get out of jail.”

Daughter Erica Fikes says she misses her best friend.

“Nobody will ever know, how we felt on that day he died,” Fikes said. ‘This hurts, he was my best friend.”

Vera Fikes, the mother of his two chidlren says she doesn’t understand how Anderson was arrested for missing a child support hearing two years prior.

“Phillip paid child support to me, and anything that these kids needed,” she said.

The federal lawsuit was filed against: Tuscaloosa County, Sheriff Ron Abernathy, and several jailers at the County Jail.

CBS 42 reached out to Tuscaloosa County Attorney Robert Spence for a comment.

Spence said: “The county denies the allegations and will respond to them in the litigation.”

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June 2016 Lawsuit filed