Thursday, May 17, 2012

No criminal charges filed in death of inmate

The actions of an Alamance County jailer who used a Taser on an inmate involved in a jail fight in January were justified, District Attorney Pat Nadolski announced Thursday.
After the Taser was used on 57-year-old Thomas Lumpkin Sr., Lumpkin fell backward onto concrete, striking his head, which ultimately caused neurological damage and led to his death at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro on Jan. 24.
The SBI investigated the incident and the report was given to Nadolski, who decided that no criminal charges will be filed in the matter, according to a release from the District Attorney’s Office.
“After reviewing the SBI investigation, the District Attorney’s Office has determined that the detention officer’s actions were justified in attempting to control a dangerous situation in a hostile environment,” the release states.
Based on the investigation, Lumpkin was involved in a fight on Jan. 20 with George Jones, 48, another inmate in the jail.
“The detention officer radioed for assistance and notified other staff members of the fight,” the release states. “The detention officer ordered the two inmates to ‘stop fighting’ twice. The detention officer deployed his Taser, striking Mr. Lumpkin in the back. Mr. Lumpkin fell straight backward onto the concrete floor, striking his head.”
Following the incident, the remaining inmates were returned to their jail cells while Lumpkin remained motionless on the floor for about a minute before he sat up on his own. Lumpkin then walked unassisted to the nurse’s station.
He was then taken to Alamance Regional Medical Center, where he began to decline and was transferred to Moses Cone Hospital, where his condition continued to deteriorate as a result of a subdural hematoma. Lumpkin died at the hospital on Jan. 24.
Earlier this month, the state Medical Examiner released Lumpkin’s autopsy report and Lumpkin’s cause of death was a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
Lumpkin had been in jail since Oct. 29 on charges of attempted murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was accused of shooting Bobby Antonio McCaden multiple times during an argument over money. Jones was put in jail Oct. 24 on two counts of larceny and two counts of obtaining property by false pretense. It is unknown why the two inmates were fighting.
In addition to asking the SBI to investigate the situation, the Sheriff’s Office reported the incident to the Division of Health Service Regulation, which is under the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and oversees jails and detention units.

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