Westland Sgt., 2 paramedics charged in jail death

- The Wayne County prosecutor announced charges after investigating two deaths at Detroit-area jails.

Two people died in separate incidents while in the custody of police in Ecorse and Westland. 

Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced charging decisions Monday. Watch the full announcement on FOX 2 News Now below:

WESTLAND JAIL DEATH

In one case, William Marshall died in a Westland lock-up in December. He had been pulled over for a suspended license and was found with marijuana and cocaine on Dec. 10 and was taken into custody around 6:30 a.m.. Prosecutors say Marshall had a white powdered substance on his mouth when he was arrested, but told police it was a donut.

By the time he arrived at the Westland jail around 6:40 a.m., Marshall was walking and speaking normally in the presence of officers, and had not reported any medical issues, according to prosecutors. But about an hour later, he started convulsing, having muscle spasms and was unable to walk.

Witnesses said Marshall begged for help, and Sgt. Ronald Buckley, the watch commander for the jail, called EMS. Westland paramedics Leah Maynard and Matt Dicosola arrived around 8 a.m. and found Marshall convulsing on his cell floor, as he told them he was having a seizure and needed help, prosecutors say. 

It is alleged that after he was dragged from the cell into a hallway, neither paramedic took his vitals signs or medically intervened in any way. A few minutes later, he was taken back into the jail cell. Prosecutors say the paramedics decided Marshall was not having a seizure, but told the sergeant they could take the inmate to the hospital in case he ingested something.

Sgt. Buckley dismissed the paramedics around 8:10 a.m., and was seen observing Marshall still having convulsions around 8:27 a.m. before leaving the jail cell area around 8:30 a.m., according to the prosecutor's office.

By 9:17 a.m., it is alleged that Marshall was motionless. Sgt. Buckley observed him not moving at 9: 27 a.m. and had another officer check Marshall's pulse. They then used a defibrillator and administered CPR. Prosecutors say paramedics returned to the jail around 9:39 a.m. and Marshall was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death was determined to be cocaine toxicity.

On Oct. 1, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced Westland Sgt. Ronald Buckley, and Westland paramedics Leah Maynard and Matt Dicosola were each charged with involuntary manslaughter - failure to perform a legal duty, a felony with a 15-year maximum penalty. Each is also facing one charge of misconduct in office, which carries a 5-year maximum penalty. 

Prosecutors say Marshall's death was direct result of the defendants' failure to perform a duty 

"Marshall died because the paramedics denied him medical treatment and abandoned him in the Westland Jail after he requested medical assistance. In the case of Sgt. Buckley, the decision to keep Mr. Marshall from going to the hospital and leaving him in the jail cell without monitoring him was a failure to perform a duty causing Mr. Marshall's death," according to documents from the prosecutor's office.

In response to the charges, Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik released this statement:

"I would like to begin by thanking the Michigan State Police Department and the Wayne County Prosecutors Office for independently investigating this matter for us. I am extremely confident that these agencies conducted a thorough and detailed investigation.

I again want to offer my sincere apology to the William Marshall family for their loss.  

The charges today against the City of Westland police officer are taken seriously by the department and the City administration. The officer charged today has been suspended pending the Departmental investigation and discipline. We will provide the police union the necessary notice of our intention to conduct and finalize our investigation into this matter. 

After the investigation, we will take the necessary discipline up to and including termination of the officer.  

The Westland Police Department has implemented changes to department's policies and procedures regarding prisoner incarceration. The Department has provided additional training to its employees and will continue to do so to ensure that something like this never happens again. "

ECORSE JAIL DEATH

The other case is the death of 34-year-old Frank Porter in June 2017. He was found passed out in his car at a Marathon gas station around 10 p.m.. Police were called and they discovered there was a warrant out for Porter's arrest, so they took him to jail.

His family tells FOX 2 Porter had been in rehab, and had just left the facility the Monday before his death. They say he was doing well, but they know there was a good chance he did heroin that night.

The investigation determined thar Porter had drugs in his system and no charges were filed.

Prosecutor Worthy determined the actions of the officers do not warrant criminal charges. They say he did not appear to be under the influence of drugs when he was arrested or taken to his jail cell. 

"The evidence supports that Mr. Porter died quickly from fentanyl that he ingested unbeknownst to the Ecorse Officers. Mr. Porter's final resting position was upright and and did not imply any distress," according to documents from the prosecutor's office.

Prosecutors say although the officers should have noticed Porter was not moving in his cell, the delay iun finding him did not ultimately contribute to his death.

In both cases, Michigan State Police were called in to investigate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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