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Diabetic inmate dies after struggle in booking area

Sun., Feb. 24, 2013, 9:48 a.m.

A diabetic man arrested by Spokane Police died during booking this morning at the Spokane County Jail after he reportedly became uncooperative and jailers used a Taser and other force to detain him in a restraint chair.

Authorities are withholding the man’s identity while they instituted the regional protocol, which puts another police agency in charge of the investigation. The man lost consciousness after being placed in the restraint chair by Spokane County corrections deputies, who could not revive him.

Washington State Patrol is the lead agency and Trooper Jeff Sevigney said in a news release that the incident began at 3:17 a.m. when dispatchers received a call from an adult male who said he had ingested methamphetamine.

“That individual was difficult to understand” and the dispatcher sent a Spokane Police officer to the 2100 block of West 4th Avenue to check on him, Sevigney said in the news release.

“Upon contact, the individual confirmed that he had ingested meth and was diabetic,” Sevigney said.

The unidentified officer called for medics to evaluate the man. As they looked him over, the dispatcher informed the officer that the man had an active arrest warrant.

“After the individual was cleared by medics, he was transported to the Spokane County Jail and booked on his outstanding warrant,” said Sevigney, who did not identify the suspected crime that generated the warrant. At about 5 a.m. “the individual became uncooperative in the booking area of the jail.”

Corrections deputies then “used force including the use of a Taser to gain control of the individual who was then placed in a restraint chair,” Sevigney wrote. “Shortly after being placed in the restraint chair the individual lost consciousness.”

Deputies and emergency medical staff began CPR and first aid but were unable to revive the man who was later pronounced dead.

The Washington State Patrol is heading up the investigation as part of the critical incident protocol. Sevigney said the man’s autopsy has been scheduled for Monday.

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