(ANTIMEDIA) Darius Robinson, a 41-year-old Oklahoma father of seven, had his windpipes crushed and a bone in his throat broken by prison guards in April. The incident ultimately led to his death, but months later, the jailer responsible has still not been charged.
On April 1, 2016, Robinson was arrested for failing to pay child support. He was booked into the Caddo County jail. Three days later, he was dead.
Moments before the fatal encounter between prison guards, Robinson “suffered what a family attorney has called a ‘manic episode’ inside his jail cell,” The Daily Beast reported. A video released to the Robinson family’s attorney shows the 41-year-old “waving around a blanket, tearing up pieces of paper, and writhing on the floor.”
That’s when jailers Vicki Lyn Richardson, Michael Allen Smith, and Bryan David Porter noticed Robinson had started acting erratically. But instead of understanding Robinson was experiencing a medical emergency and acting accordingly, jailers pepper sprayed, choked, and handcuffed the inmate.
The video shows one jailer holding Robinson by the neck with his forearm while another jailer pepper sprays him. The video also shows that moments before jailers attacked Robinson, the inmate didn’t charge at them, as Undersheriff Spencer Davis allegedly told Robinson’s brother after the fact. Instead, Robinson is seen “settling on a bench” moments before the attack.
As both men fall to the floor after Smith went for Robinson’s neck, the guard holds the prisoner with his two hands in what is known as a guillotine chokehold. Robinson tries to break free, collapsing moments later. Robinson is then handcuffed, and another jailer enters the cell, promptly putting his foot on Robinson’s back.
At that point, Smith has been choking Robinson for about a minute. After a few more minutes later, Smith finally lets him go.
Unfortunately, it was already too late. As the man convulsed and foamed at the mouth, jailers finally called for the paramedics.
When paramedics arrived at the scene, jailers said Robinson had been suffering from delirium tremens, or DTs, which are often associated with alcohol and drug withdrawal. But the toxicology report showed Robinson had no trace of alcohol or drugs in his system.
According to the The Daily Beast, “[a]n autopsy found his windpipe had been crushed, the hyoid bone supporting his tongue had been fractured, and the surrounding muscles had been hemorrhaging blood.”
Once paramedics LaRoyce Fanning and Ryan Warren arrived, Robinson had already lost his pulse. Due to the heavy damage sustained during the encounter, paramedics were unable to “insert a breathing tube into Robinson’s crushed trachea.”
“Finally,” The Daily Beast reports, “the paramedics inserted a tube to expand Robinson’s airway but all the life had already been choked out of him.” Smith had failed to tell them he had choked Robinson for several minutes when the paramedics arrived.
After the deadly incident, Caddo County District Attorney Jason Hicks said he planned to wait until the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations finalized its probe into Robinson’s death before taking the case to a grand jury. But Robinson’s family is not waiting until the investigation is completed to sue.
According to The Daily Beast, the family’s attorney, Spencer Bryan, said “[t]he jailers” may have “choked Darius to death,” but ultimately, it is “the justice system in Caddo County” that is to blame.
This article (This Prison Guard Who Choked A Prisoner to Death is Still Roaming Free) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alice Salles and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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