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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – An incident caught on tape at the Dallas County Jail is helping fuel calls for more information and a bigger investigation into a man’s death. Months after Joseph Hutcheson collapsed at the jail his family says they are still searching for answers surrounding his death – a death that was ruled a homicide.
Hutcheson’s wife, Nicol, spoke briefly at a press conference outside the jail. She said, “I’m here today to request that Sheriff Lupe Valdez release the names of the six people that were involved in my husband’s death. The public has a right to know these people’s names.”
Nicol said it has been very hard since her husband’s death. “He was really a very loving husband. He did everything for me… his mother, we always helped his mother.”
Also at the press conference was Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, who introduced himself as the family spiritual advisor. Speaking about how the Hutcheson case has been handled he said, “We have all seen the video, some of us have seen it countless times, we know what happened. And yet, from the very beginning Sheriff Lupe Valdez had hidden information, she has withheld information, she has sidestepped questions, [and] she has refused to engage this family.”
Hood said the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department ended Hutcheson’s life with “a knee to the back and a knee to the throat.” He also claimed that parts of Hutcheson’s body were not returned to the family. “Joseph’s throat is still in the possession of the medical examiner here in Dallas County,” he said. “Now they’ve [family] been told that in order to maintain the throat and for the medical examiner not to destroy the throat, it’s going to be a payment of $30 or $60 a month to maintain her husband’s throat.”
It was August 1, 2015 when Hutcheson entered the lobby of the Dallas County Jail. According to Sheriff Lupe Valdez, the 48-year-old had just left Parkland Hospital against medical advice.
Hutcheson’s family claims he ran into the lobby screaming, “Don’t hurt me, I just need some help.”
On the 2015 security video from the jail lobby, which did not have audio, Hutcheson is seen walking to a bench. Other people can also bee seen turning, looking and moving away when Hutcheson enters the lobby.
Shortly after entering, deputies go to Hutcheson and have some sort of interaction. They then leave his immediate area. When deputies return a second time there appears to be some type of scuffle and Hutcheson is subdued and handcuffed. The video later shows deputies turning Hutcheson on his back and ends when they begin performing CPR.
Hutcheson went into cardiac arrest a short time after being confined. He later died at the hospital.
The Dallas County Medical Examiners Office ruled the death a homicide. The autopsy report cited Hutcheson’s cause of death as a combination of illicit drug use, heart disease and stress generated from physical struggle and restraint.
Several deputies are on leave as a result of their role in the incident, but Hutcheson’s family wants their names and any details of the discipline they face made public. “Now we are to a place where she’s [Sheriff Valdez] saying that after five and a half months she still can’t release the names of these deputies involved in this incident,” Hood claimed, adding, “She says there’s an ongoing investigation. And yet all over the country we have heard the same cry, that Joseph Hutcheson cried out in this lobby, ‘I can’t breathe!’”
Hood went on to say that the information about the deputies is a matter of public safety. “We want the names of these deputies and we want the names of these deputies because the people of Dallas County have the right to know who they’re encountering when they go in this lobby.”
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