Video shows Oklahoma jail staff put inmate in fatal chokehold


An Oklahoma inmate who died in his jail cell was pinned to the ground, choked by jail staff and then handcuffed as he lay motionless on the floor, alarming new video shows

The Caddo County District Attorney’s office investigating 41-year-old Darius Robinson’s death have released surveillance video that reveals the moments when the man was put in a chokehold and killed after jail staff crushed his windpipe.

No charges have been brought against the officers involved.

“In this hour, justice has not been reached. The jailer’s not supposed to be the executioner,” an attorney for the Robinson family, Malik Shabbaz, said in a news conference.

Robinson was being held at the Caddo County jail for failure to pay child support and became agitated when undergoing a withdrawal from Xanax, attorneys said.

Darius Robinson, 41, was killed in April by Caddo County police at an Oklahoma jail.

Darius Robinson, 41, was killed in April by Caddo County police at an Oklahoma jail.

(Family Handout)

Video of the deadly encounter begins when Robinson is visibly distressed in his cell, and two officers walk into his cell.

Moments later, Robinson edges toward the cell’s door, prompting one of the correction officers to tackle him to the ground in a chokehold while the other officer helps subdue him.

The video’s sound is not audible,  but attorneys say a supervisor encourages the officer to “choke him out.”

After a brief tussle, Robinson is seen lying nearly lifeless on the jail cell floor, while the officers handcuffed his wrists behind his back. Robison appears to go in and of consciousness and, at one point, one of the officers checks his pulse and performs CPR. 

Robinson is seen visibly agitated in the moments before jail staff enter his cell.

Robinson is seen visibly agitated in the moments before jail staff enter his cell.

(Caddo County District Attorney’s Office)

An autopsy report from April said that “while lying handcuffed and prone on the jail floor, Robinson became unresponsive. There was a report of white foam coming from his mouth.”

Robinson was pronounced dead at a local hospital. The medical examiner’s office ruled Robinson’s death a homicide.

Sheriff’s deputies defended the correction officers’ response, saying Robinson had been violent and was trying to escape his cell, KFOR reported.

But attorneys for the Robinson family say the officers used excessive force on a man who simply needed medical attention.

The unidentifed correction officers pinned Robinson to the ground and put him in a fatal chokehold, crushing his wind pipe.

The unidentifed correction officers pinned Robinson to the ground and put him in a fatal chokehold, crushing his wind pipe.

(Caddo County District Attorney’s Office)

“He died from being strangled to death right here in this jail cell. That is unacceptable,” Shabbazz said outside the Caddo County jail.

The unidentifed officers have been put on paid administrative leave.

District Attorney Office Jason Hicks and the Sheriff’s Office both declined to comment.

Hicks will be making a public statement next week, a spokesperson for his office said.

The Robinson family plans to file a federal lawsuit against the officers.

Tags:
oklahoma

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