Joseph Hutcheson died in the lobby of the Dallas County jail on Aug. 1. The Dallas County Sheriff's Office released a surveillance video (below) of the incident.
The surveillance video, which does not include audio, shows Hutcheson rushing into the lobby, walking around, speaking to deputies who follow him, almost leaving, and then being taken down and handcuffed by several deputies, one of whom has his knee on Hutcheson’s back and throat, reports The Guardian.
After Hutcheson stops moving, the deputies take off the handcuffs and try to revive him. Paramedics are called, but Hutcheson dies.
Witness April Berryhill told The Dallas Morning News: "[Hutcheson] came in saying, ‘Don’t be scared of me. I just need some help.’ They just tackled him as if he’d threatened their lives. He didn’t have a weapon. He wasn’t swinging at the officers. He just needed help.”
Raul Reyna, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, claimed that Hutcheson parked his pickup truck on a crosswalk, and ran into the south tower of the jail claiming that his wife was chasing him and attempting to hurt him.
Reyna added that Hutcheson then entered the jail's main lobby, and claimed that his wife was trying to murder him.
Reyna said in an email to The Dallas Morning News that Hutcheson was restrained handcuffs by a deputy “believing that he may be a threat to himself or others until they could calm the man down."
However, the Dallas County Medical Examiner ruled on Aug. 31 that Hutcheson's death was a homicide caused by drugs and being restrained (by the deputies), reports CBS Dallas-Fort Worth.
Part of the medical examiner's report said that the 48-year-old man suffered the “combined toxic effects of cocaine and methamphetamine, combined by hypertensive cardiovascular disease and physiological stress associated with struggle and restraint."
On the morning of Aug. 1, Hutcheson voluntarily checked himself into a hospital, but reportedly checked out several hours later “against medical advice.”
Hutcheson’s family claimed they had an independent exam of Hutcheson's body done, which found organs missing from his throat.
The Dallas County Sheriff's Department would not comment on the medical examiner's statement, but has launched an internal investigation.
Scott Palmer, an attorney for the Hutcheson family, stated on Aug. 31: “It is apparent from the ruling that Mr. Hutcheson died at the hands of another. We believe without the assault by the Sheriff’s deputies, Mr. Hutcheson would still be alive today,” reports The Guardian.
“Nothing my brother did deserved his throat to get crushed and laying on that floor suffocating," said sibling James Hutcheson," notes NBC Dallas-Fort Worth. "Nothing that he did deserved that.”
In the video below, James narrates what he believes happened to his brother.