Inmate Ricky Whipple, 35, of San Bernardino, Died In Custody At The West Valley Detention Center In Rancho Cucamonga

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CALIFORNIA (October 10, 2023) – An inmate identified as Ricky Whipple has died after a medical emergency at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

San Bernardino County officials are saying that the incident took place around 4:00 p.m. on Friday. Correctional officers are saying that they became aware Ricky Whipple was going through some type of medical emergency.

Paramedics were called to the scene in order to help the inmate. The inmate was taken to the hospital in order to receive further care.

Despite life-saving measures, Ricky Whipple was pronounced dead at the hospital. A full investigation into the incident remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For San Bernardino County Inmate Deaths

San Bernardino County has a disturbing track record with respect to the care it has given inmates. According to The Sun, one complaint against the county alleged “the county violated the constitutional rights of the nearly 6,000 people it incarcerates in its jails through inadequate and deficient medical, mental health and dental care.” There are also claims that staff members used excessive force on inmates. People with disabilities reportedly lack proper access to toilets and showers. There are many steps that jails should take in order to ensure inmates are being well taken care of.

  • Jails should ensure that correctional officers are properly trained.
  • Jails should ensure that their facility is not overcrowded.
  • Jails should ensure that inmates are given periodic health checks.
  • Jails should listen to the concerns of inmates and outside groups.

All jails and prisons have a legal obligation to give the inmates that they care for adequate healthcare. In Estelle v. Gamble (1976), the U.S. Supreme Court held that a jail’s deliberate indifference to an inmate’s serious medical needs constitutes cruel and unusual punishment which is forbidden by the constitution. Plaintiffs will typically need to demonstrate three things in any claim that alleges an inmate’s death was due to medical neglect.

  • The inmate that died had a serious medical need that required attention.
  • Jail staff were deliberately indifferent to that serious medical need. In other words, they were aware of the condition and knowingly failed to provide adequate care.
  • The inadequate care directly led to the inmate’s death.

Many inmate deaths are preventable. Part of the problem is that jails will often wait until there is some type of emergency before they will provide care. This is a mistake. Jails should be doing their best to prevent inmates from needing emergency care in the first place. The family of any inmate that died in-custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. A civil rights attorney can examine the unique facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating Inmate Deaths At The West Valley Detention Center

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Ricky Whipple. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. Going to jail should never become a death sentence. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent similar tragedies.

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga? Our team of civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We focus entirely on assisting people who have been harmed by police abuses of power and jail neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of support after an in-custody death we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.


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