Members of a Florida family say they are looking for answers after a loved one became unresponsive while in police custody and later died at a local hospital.
WPEC News reports Mitchell "Brad" Martinez died June 2 while in a coma and on life support at Indian River Medical Center in Indian County, Florida.
Martinez, 37, was rushed to the hospital May 29 after he collapsed while exiting an Indian County Sheriff’s Office transport vehicle, according to VeroNews.com
Martinez had been in court that day, according to WPTV News, and had just been transported from the Indian County Courthouse to the jail after having his bail revoked.
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That ride reportedly took eight minutes, and Indian County Sheriff Deryl Loar said Martinez was riding in a compartment, by himself, directly behind the driver.
"There's no other inmates that could touch him. No other officers that could touch him. Nothing unusual happened on the way to the jail. We have no indicators that he tried to self-inflict any harm to himself,” Loar said in a news conference.
But family members say they noticed abrasions on Martinez’s neck while he was in the hospital. Those abrasions were mentioned in the WPTV news story, and according to the website Photography is Not a Crime, Martinez’s family has posted photos of the abrasions to the Facebook page Justice for Brad Martinez. They reportedly want to know where those marks came from.
Loar said at the news conference he was sure his officers acted appropriately.
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"I'm confident the deputies at Indian River County Sheriff's Office did everything they could to save Mr. Mitchell from any continued distress and I think they did a great job by administering everything they could," he said, according to WPBF News.
The incident is still under investigation.
Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office were scheduled to meet with the Medical Examiner’s Office on June 3 and an autopsy was scheduled for June 4.
Details have not yet been released.
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