UPDATE: A source told the Mercury News Tuesday that the inmate was on suicide watch, but there were no apparent signs of suicide. At one point, correctional officers removed the inmate from his cell. Force may have been a factor in his death.
A month after an inmate’s fatal beating at Santa Clara County’s Main Jail, another inmate has been found dead.
Authorities reportedly found the 33-year-old man passed out in his cell late Monday morning. The man, whose name has not yet been released, was arrested twice this month on suspicion of assault, battery and public drunkenness.
This marks the jail’s third in-custody death since August.
On Aug. 27, 31-year-old Michael Tyree was found bloodied and beaten on the floor of his cell. Days later, three correctional officers—Jereh Lubrin, Matthew Farris and Rafael Rodriquez—were charged with murdering the mentally ill inmate who was locked up on a petty theft charge.
Four days after Tyree's death, a 50-year-old woman identified as Noriko Seales was found dead at Elmwood, the county's second jail in Milpitas. According to the Medical Examiner-Coroner, she died of natural causes. Specifically, of a stroke and hypertensive cardiovascular disease. Seales was a Menlo Park resident who had been locked up on drug-related charges.
The man found dead in his cell Monday was housed in a part of the jail with around-the-clock nursing staff, according to the Mercury News. A jail guard reportedly found him unresponsive around 10:30am. He tried to resuscitate him until paramedics arrived and took over.
Minutes after 11am, the inmate was pronounced dead. His death remains under investigation.
Tyree's death brought the county's Department of Corrections—a branch of the Sheriff's Office—under increased scrutiny. The Board of Supervisors convened a "blue ribbon" commission to conduct a top-down audit of local jails.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. James Jensen sent the following update Tuesday evening:
To ensure accurate information is provided to the public surrounding the September 28, 2015 death of an inmate in custody at the Santa Clara County Main Jail, we are releasing the following information. We will not be releasing any confidential information as this is prohibited by law and we will not be releasing the inmates name because as of now the next of kin have not been located.
At this time, we have no information about the cause of death. Any assumptions as to the cause of death is pure speculation until the Medical Examiner finishes their review. We expect that review to take place in the coming days.
On September 5 of this year, the inmate was arrested by Santa Clara County Sheriff’s deputies for assaulting two individuals. The deceased stated at the time of the arrest that he had been assaulted.
After being taken into custody, the inmate assaulted a County employee.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested the inmate for that additional assault and booked him into the Main Jail.
On September 19, the inmate was released from custody after his time was served.
The next day, on September 20, the inmate was arrested by the Milpitas Police Department for two counts of assault and battery and drunk in public. He was booked into our Main Jail that day.
On September 21, during cell checks, the inmate refused to cooperate and he began hitting his door repeatedly with his fists. custody staff determined that the inmate should be moved to another section of the jail.
At approximately 8:48 PM, the inmate refused to comply with a verbal request by custody staff to vacate his cell.
For several minutes, custody staff attempted to talk to the inmate to encourage him to vacate his cell. They attempted to verbally gain compliance nine times. They were unsuccessful.
At approximately 10:15 PM, the decision was made that a physical extraction was necessary for the safety of the inmate.
At approximately 10:20 PM, custody staff implemented standard protocol for an inmate cell extraction.
Custody staff first deployed pepper spray to gain compliance. The pepper spray was unsuccessful.
Custody staff then deployed 2 bursts of “Clear Out,” a spray used to fill a room to help force an inmate out. Each burst was separated by 3 minutes. This was unsuccessful.
Custody staff then deployed three air-powered plastic projectiles, each one minute apart, to gain compliance. Again this was unsuccessful.
Custody staff then entered the cell to physically move the inmate.
Prior to the move at approximately 11:24 PM, The inmate was assessed.
At approximately 3:12 AM on September 22, the inmate was cleared to be returned to the main jail.
Upon returning to the main jail, the inmate was interviewed and placed in an appropriate area in the jail.
As I stated at the beginning. I am providing this information to ensure the public has an accurate depiction of what occurred. The cause of death of the inmate has yet to be determined by the Medical Examiner. We will not be releasing any more information at this time.