A Spokane County jail inmate died early Wednesday morning shortly after he was arrested by Spokane police for violating a domestic violence order.
Police responded to the 5400 block of North Addison street just before 6 a.m. Wednesday after receiving a report of a man and woman arguing. They were told the man had possibly hidden a gun.
Officers arrested the man for violating a domestic violence no contact order and unlawful possession of a firearm, police said in a news release. The man appeared to be high and told officers he was “drinking something,” the release said.
While en route to jail, police said the man began kicking on the back of the patrol car. Jail staff took him into the booking area while he was handcuffed. Police said the man was still uncooperative, so jail staff were preparing to place him in a restraint chair when he had a medical emergency.
Spokane County commissioner Todd Mielke said he was briefed on the death Wednesday morning by county CEO Marshall Farnell.
Mielke said he was told the man went into cardiac arrest during processing.
Correction officers began resuscitation immediately, police said, and the man was transported to the hospital while he still had a pulse. He later died at the hospital.
His name will be released by the medical examiner’s office. The Washington State Patrol is investigating his death as part of the Spokane Investigative Regional Response team, which investigates deadly incidents involving law enforcement.
The man’s death is the second death of a jail inmate this month. On May 4, John Everitt, 46 was found hanging by a sheet in his cell. The medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
Mielke said he was told Everitt had a substance abuse problem and had been trying to get jail staff to take him to the hospital so he could receive a narcotic. Jail staff examined him and found no medical issue, so Everitt decided to try to make himself pass out so he would have to be taken to the hospital. Mielke said.
Mielke said inmate deaths are always concerning, but said jail staff have no control over the medical issues someone may enter the jail with.
“That’s the issue that we have before us. We don’t have control over what they’re doing external to the system,” he said.