Oklahoma authorities released video footage on Monday that showed a corrections officer apparently fatally strangling an inmate, although criminal charges have reportedly not yet been filed.
Darius Robinson’s death was ruled a homicide by a state medical examiner, who said he was killed by “manual compression of the neck” during the April 4 incident at the Caddo County Jail in Anadarko, Oklahoma, the Daily Beast reported.
The office of county prosecutor Jason Hicks has said it won’t discuss grand jury deliberations.
The video appears to show Robinson, 41, darting towards officer Michael Allen Smith before being taken down to the floor. The officer then wraps his arms around Robinson in a chokehold, before another officer eventually puts him in handcuffs while he lies on the floor.
The autopsy determined Robinson had suffered a crushed windpipe, a fracture in the bone supporting his tongue, and haemorrhaging in the surrounding muscles.
Robinson’s family has since said they will file a federal civil lawsuit against the jail, as they believe there was no reason Robinson needed to die, local ABC affiliate KSWO reported.
Robinson’s brother Ancio said the incident appears to be one where excessive force was used.
“It could have been avoided, and the chokehold and other maneuvers and them entering the cell,” he told KSWO. “It was obvious there was a lack of training and procedure in place, and that it could have been 100% avoided.”
Undersheriff Spencer Davis reportedly told Ancio Robinson that Darius had “charged” the jailers, according The Daily Beast.
Robinson had been arrested April 1 for failure to pay child support. One of the family’s attorneys, Spencer Bryant, told media that Robinson had repeatedly warned jail officials he could experience withdrawals unless he took his prescribed Xanax, but the jail paid no attention.
“They failed to take any steps to check his vital signs, take any type of withdrawal assessment, do any monitoring that is standard procedure for individuals who may suffer from withdrawal symptoms,” Bryant said.
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