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Thursday, July 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Spokane inmate dies at hospital shortly after arrest

A Spokane County jail inmate died Wednesday after he went into cardiac arrest while guards tried to restrain him.

Spokane 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, police said in a news release. The man, whose name has not been released, was arrested on a charge of violating a domestic violence no-contact order.

The man appeared to be high and told officers he had been “drinking something,” the news release said.

While en route to jail, police said the man began kicking, and police notified jail staff that they should “prepare for an uncooperative male,” the news release said. Jail staff took him into the booking area while he was handcuffed. Police said the man still was 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. County commissioners oversee the jail.

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.

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 concerning, but said jail staff have no control over medical problems inmates have before they enter jail.

“That’s the issue that we have before us,” he said. “We don’t have control over what they’re doing external to the system.”

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