Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – An Onondaga County grand jury is recommending several changes for law enforcement in the wake of an inmate’s death at the Justice Center, according to a report released on Thursday afternoon.
Last week, Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick indicated that the grand jury had determined that all correctional personnel had acted in a reasonable manner during the events that preceded the death of Raul Pinet Jr.
Previously, a report by the New York State Commission of Correction claimed that Pinet’s death had been a “homicide.”
Pinet had been taken into custody after he allegedly tried to break into a home while high on drugs.
The grand jury report did recommend some changes for procedures among personnel however.
The grand jury recommends that a commission consisting of law enforcement and health and medical personnel be established to deal with what it characterizes as an “increase in incidents of the abuse of certain substances.”
The commission’s task would be to establish guidelines recognizing emergency medical situations and recommending protocols for dealing with those situations.
In addition, the grand jury suggests that a presentation on “cocaine excited delirium syndrome” be extended to all law enforcement agencies. After Pinet’s death, the Onondaga County Medical Examiner’s Office made such a presentation to Justice Center personnel.
Finally, the report made several recommendations regarding the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT), such as remaining with the subject until the situation has been resolved. During the Pinet incident, officer subdued the subject and then returned to other duties. The report says that the officers’ return was delayed.
The report also asserted that proper procedures such as checking for a pulse are developed. During the Pinet incident, the officers yelled at the prone man and pounded on the floor.
Finally, the report recommended that inmates should not be left unattended in a prone position. Pinet died with a spit hood over his face while lying in a prone position.
The Sheriff’s Office says that they have already implemented measures that match the grand jury report’s recommendations.