The chief medical examiner made a ruling from the death of an inmate at Garner Correctional Institution in Newtown, CT. His death was a homicide caused by chest compression and an adverse reaction to pepper spray because of his heart disease.
J’Allen Jones, 31, of Atlanta was killed on March 25 while being brought to the prison’s mental-heath unit, reported The Hartford Courant.
DOC officials allege Jones became combative with staff before he was killed.
The Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. James Gill, said Jones died from “sudden death during struggle and restraint with chest compression” as well as exposure to pepper spray.
Gill noted the homicide ruling does not mean someone intentionally killed Jones, it simply means he was killed by another person.
“We define a homicide as a death at the hand of another person or deaths due to the hostile or illegal acts of another,” Gill wrote in an email to The Courant.
In March, jail staff decided Jones needed “treatment and enhanced supervision” at their inpatient mental health unit.
Correction department spokeswoman Karen Martucci said while being brought to the infirmary, Jones became “noncompliant and combative with staff” and then became “nonresponsive.” She said corrections officers tried to save Jones, and he was taken in an ambulance to a community hospital where he was declared dead.
“The death of an individual under the care and custody of the Department of Correction is a very serious matter and we are fully committed to cooperating with external law enforcement,” Commissioner Scott Semple said in March. “There are no immediate indications suggesting that excessive force was utilized. However, we are in the infancy stage of an active investigation and will respond swiftly and accordingly to any determinations contrary to the initial findings presented.”
Martucci said state police are still investigating the death, and reaffirmed the initial DOC stance that officers did not use excessive force during the struggle that killed the inmate.
The DOC officers responsible for the homicide received no disciplinary action, and the DOC is waiting for state police to complete their investigation before opening an internal investigation.