Sgt. fired after death in Westland jail; two paramedics also charged

- A police sergeant in the Westland Police Department has been fired for his actions that authorities say ultimately led to the death of an inmate last December.

Sgt. Ronald Buckley was fired by Westland Police Thursday morning after the department completed their internal review of his actions the day William Marshall died in custody in December. The internal investigation determined Buckley violated department policies and procedures.

The department offered an apology to the Marshall family and says it is implementing additional changes to the incarceration policies. The department is also providing additional training to employees.

Buckley's firing was announced just hours after he and two paramedics were formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with Marshall's death

"Police have this thing where they feel like they can treat us like animals, like nothing, with no regard to human life," says Kaliece Simms, Marshall's fiance.

Marshall died in a Westland lock-up in December after being pulled over for a suspended license. He was found with marijuana and cocaine and was taken into custody around 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 10, where he would only be alive for a little more than three more hours.  

When 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. Buckley, the watch commander for the jail, called EMS. 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. Medical examiners say Marshall had swallowed cocaine before he was arrested.

"He's screaming for help; he's saying he needs help; you know he needs help bad. He's screaming, 'Help me, help me!' and you all aren't helping him, you're leaving him there to die, and it's very unfair," says Demond Marshall, the victim's brother.

Thursday in court the defendants' attorneys all argued for personal bond, which the judge granted. Marshall's loved ones say a personal bond feels like a slap in the face.

"I don't think they should have a personal bond. They would not have gave either of us a personal bond," says Simms.

"Reason why I think [he didn't get medical treatment] like they say on the news, 'Oh, he was a drug dealer; he was this or that,' so they felt like his life didn't matter. So, that's what happened. That's exactly what happened," says Allen Turner, the victim's brother.

The defendants waived their right to a probable cause conference and are scheduled to be back in court December 17 for a preliminary exam. 

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