Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ex-sheriff candidate files complaint with ACLU over inmates' death

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 5:44 PM

  • Holiday

Since August of this year, two imprisoned individuals have died in El Paso County care: 51-year-old Brian O'Leary, on Aug. 17, and 20-year-old Ricardo Rafel Grimaldo, on Nov. 4. Both individuals were found unresponsive in their respective cells, and the coroner was unable to find a definitive cause of death for either.

The deaths have prompted ex-candidate-for-sheriff John "Doc" Holiday to file a complaint with the Colorado branch of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Says an e-mail from Holiday to the ACLU:

In 2008, another male died while an inmate in the EPC jail. A lawsuit by relatives has been filed. In 2001, 4 inmates died in the ELPC jail. The ACLU looked into those deaths. My very recent attempts to learn the total number of deaths at the jail in the last five years has yet been in vain. In 2001, the ACLU concluded that the 4 deaths stemmed from lack of staff and inadequate training.

I have long been a critic of the conditions inside the jail. I was an ambulance driver many years ago. I know a little about the mechanics of the onset of some types of death. It is unlikely that O'Leary did not evidence physical distress before he became "unresponsive" in the jail. I opposed the incumbent sheriff in the 2010 midterm elections. I was defeated. I request that the ACLU conduct a preliminary enquiry regarding the recent deaths and conditions in the jail.

Shortly after learning of Grimaldo's death at the beginning of November, the Indy attempted to reach the deceased's public defender, as well as the ACLU's legal department. Neither contact has been returned.

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