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  • injury or suicide post custody

    Hi all,

    What happens when a suspect is injured or commits suicide while in custody, either by accident or by deliberate action to themselves? I’m not talking about injuries getting the suspect in custody or police brutality or anything like that, but after they are in the back of the car and from then on. I briefly tried the search feature but didn’t come across anything. Also does this happen often?

  • #2
    In CA, in-custody deaths are thoroughly investigated and reported to the state. Lesser injuries (such as attempted suicides or when suspects intentionally injure themselves w/o the intent to cause death) are also documented, as is the medical treatment they receive. Although in-custody deaths are quite rare, it's very common for persons under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to be self destructive. In our city of 100,000 + and only 8.5 square miles, suspects injure themselves by things such as banging their heads on PD vehicle windows, cell doors or walls weekly. Such antics at the station are usually caught on video. Since the suspects are often in custody only for intoxication related offenses, if they are truely an immediate danger to themselves or others, we place them on a psychiatric hold for evaluation by mental health professionals.
    "I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."

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    • #3
      Injury-Suicide-Post Custody.

      As a State Officer, I delivered my arrestees to the custody of the Sheriff in whose county I made the arrest. At that point, the subject became the Sheriff's responsibility. Certainly, if I had any inclination that the subject might harm himself, I advised the Jailor or booking officer of that fact. In larger cities and counties in Alabama where in-custody deaths occur, that particular agency investigates the death. In smaller jurisdictions, the investigation is handled by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, which is a Division of the Dept of Public Safety. It's a general rule in situations of this type, that a certain class of lawyer is constantly lurking to bring suit against the city/county. Certainly, in rare instances, claims are justified. Fortunately, situations of the type you're asking about don't happen here every day. They do happen though.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by itnstalln View Post
        What happens when a suspect is injured or commits suicide while in custody, either by accident or by deliberate action to themselves?

        They DIE!!!
        "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm" -George Orwell

        "It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing diapers." - Blues Brothers

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        • #5
          Injury Suicide

          Originally posted by grumpyirishman View Post
          They DIE!!!
          That's cool Irishman, true too.

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          • #6
            All in custody injuries are documented and investigated. Same for a death in custody... However the state (FDLE - Florida Department of Law Enforcement) and the medical examiner will investigate. As for how offten these things happen, thats hard to say. It has been my experience, not very.
            "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

            Thomas Jefferson

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            • #7
              Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
              That's cool Irishman, true too.
              Not only true but a requirement per definition.


              I would have thought it to be rare but hadn't specifically considered alcohol or drugs (or both...) I'm guessing the point of the investigation to determine if foul play was involved, but once ruled out do you guys just try and put them in a position so they can't hurt themselves? Do you guys/your departments catch any backlash from the families filing lawsuits and whatnot?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by itnstalln View Post
                Not only true but a requirement per definition.


                I would have thought it to be rare but hadn't specifically considered alcohol or drugs (or both...) I'm guessing the point of the investigation to determine if foul play was involved, but once ruled out do you guys just try and put them in a position so they can't hurt themselves? Do you guys/your departments catch any backlash from the families filing lawsuits and whatnot?
                Good Point. In any death of the type we're discussing, liability is always a potential problem. That's what makes the investigation so important. Families will often bring suits against the agency(s) involved. Sometimes, the agency settles out of court,and as part of the settlement, makes no concession as to blame. That's more of a "business decision" than anything else. What's often amazing here, is that the "concern" of the family begins at the time of their loved one's death, not prior to it, as in prevention, etc. The attorneys usuall walk away a few thousand bucks richer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by itnstalln View Post
                  I'm guessing the point of the investigation to determine if foul play was involved, but once ruled out do you guys just try and put them in a position so they can't hurt themselves?
                  Yes. They get direct observation, and more often than not restrained (if its an attempted suicide type situation.)

                  Do you guys/your departments catch any backlash from the families filing lawsuits and whatnot?
                  Any time a person is injured or dies in custody, you can guarantee a lawsuit will follow. The only time the flack comes down to the individual officer though is there is clearly negligent (or criminal) conduct on the part of the officer. The department has legal teams to deal with the lawsuits. Often we don't even hear about them until long after they're settled.
                  Originally posted by kontemplerande
                  Without Germany, you would not have won World War 2.

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