The family of a man who hanged himself in the Erie County Holding Center alleges in a lawsuit that the Sheriff’s Office and Grand Island police failed to see he was likely to attempt suicide if jailed.
Robert H. Ingalsbe V died Oct. 11, 2019, the day before his 34th birthday. He became the 30th of the now 31 Erie County inmates to die in custody since Timothy B. Howard became sheriff in 2005. Howard’s Jail Management Division has installed a detailed suicide-screening protocol, but the lawsuit says jail deputies failed to watch Ingalsbe even though the arresting deputies knew he had been using drugs.
Ingalsbe, a father of two, was arrested Oct. 10, 2019, in Grand Island after being indicted on charges of robbery and petit larceny, which the lawsuit also says were false. He was briefly held at the Grand Island Police Station, and the town and its police department are named as defendants.
Town Supervisor John Whitney had no comment Wednesday on the lawsuit, which is in its early stages in state Supreme Court. The Sheriff’s Office would not comment on the matter.