(Updated 11:40 a.m.) Last October, 46-year-old D.C. nonmigratory Darryl Becton died successful his compartment astatine the Arlington County Detention Facility successful Courthouse.
The region is inactive looking into the circumstances astir his death, but the Arlington County Police Department tells ARLnow the probe could soon beryllium concluded.
“Detectives are reviewing past items and expect concluding the probe successful the adjacent future,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “While we admit the request for closure and transparency, ACPD has a work to behaviour a professional, methodical, and thorough probe to guarantee each applicable facts are gathered, documented, and considered.”
ACPD volition past guardant the full investigative record to the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office for autarkic review. Meantime, the Sheriff’s Office volition analyse whether applicable policies and procedures were being followed successful this incident.
Meanwhile, the Arlington subdivision of the NAACP — which called for an autarkic probe of the decease of Becton, an African American antheral — is wondering wherefore the probe is taking truthful long.
“The Arlington NAACP’s astir important question is who is not cooperating with whom due to the fact that thing other makes sense,” subdivision president Julius “J.D.” Spain, Sr. said. “It’s been 10 positive months, and each the household and assemblage get is the blistery murphy treatment.”
By that, helium says, erstwhile the NAACP talks to County Board members, they constituent to the Commonwealth’s Attorney, who says to speech with the Arlington County Police Department, who says speech to the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.
“With the objection of 1 missive dated October 26, 2020, the Sheriff has been silent,” helium said. “Her soundlessness is the lone portion of this that makes immoderate consciousness due to the fact that Mr. Becton someway died successful a locked compartment successful the jailhouse she runs. Their corporate attraction of the household is highly disrespectful and compounds their grief and the concerns of citizens.”
What we cognize of the case
Last fall, Becton was being held connected an alleged probation usurpation aft being convicted successful 2019 of a felony, “unauthorized usage of a centrifugal vehicle.”
On Oct. 1, 2020, astatine 4:15 p.m., a sheriff’s lawman and a Department of Human Services caseworker had recovered Becton unresponsive successful his cell. ACPD officers were dispatched astatine 4:19 p.m. to investigate. Despite resuscitation efforts, Becton was pronounced dormant 30 minutes later.
Within a week, the NAACP wrote to the sheriff’s bureau and the constabulary section requesting an autarkic investigation. The aforesaid month, Sheriff Beth Arthur and then-Acting Chief of Police Andy Penn wrote a associated response.
“The decease of Mr. Becton is tragic and we tin guarantee you that a thorough and broad transgression probe into this substance volition beryllium conducted by the ACPD, followed by a broad administrative probe by ASCO to find if each applicable policies and procedures were followed surrounding Mr. Becton’s incarceration,” Arthur and Penn wrote.
Amid the investigation, the Virginia Office of the Chief Medical Examiner conducted an autopsy, which was completed aft a decease certificate was issued to Becton’s family. On that document, the autopsy was listed arsenic “pending” and nary origin of decease was listed.
“Mr. Becton’s loved ones merit to cognize what the aesculapian examiner determined was his origin of death, and they inactive can’t adjacent get that elemental answer,” Spain said.
The aesculapian examiner’s bureau told ARLnow connected Wednesday that the origin was hypertensive cardiovascular disease — which is caused by sustained precocious humor unit — analyzable by opiate withdrawal. The mode of his decease was ruled to beryllium natural.
Ten months of waiting
Meanwhile, frustrated with the investigation’s pace, the NAACP reached retired to Commonwealth’s Attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti past week to spot if she had made immoderate advancement connected her autarkic review. In response, she affirmed that her bureau owe’s Becton’s household and the assemblage “an close and transparent relationship of our work,” but pointed to the process laid retired by ACPD and ACSO.
“It is important to enactment that the October 26, 2020, associated letter… stated that a implicit investigative record would beryllium turned implicit to my Office for autarkic review; those investigations are not yet complete,” she said.
She tells ARLnow that she cannot remark connected wherefore things are taking truthful agelong due to the fact that the probe is inactive ongoing.
“Our bureau is exercising diligence and doing the enactment that we tin astatine the fastest gait we can,” she said.
Spain is pushing for much information, particularly due to the fact that Becton is the 5th idiosyncratic — and the 4th Black antheral — to dice successful the installation portion successful custody successful 5 years, according to the associated missive from ASCO and ACPD.
Anthony Gordon and Edward Straughn died successful 2015 and Bennie Turner died successful 2017. Two were ruled arsenic earthy causes, and 1 was ruled to beryllium owed to a substance of controlled substances recovered successful the man’s system. The decease of the remaining inmate, Jitesh Patel successful 2019, was ruled a suicide.
In the aforesaid years Gordon, Straughn and Turner died, 43-44 radical died successful section Virginia jails, according to an April report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.
In 2018, the astir caller twelvemonth successful the report, unwellness was the starring origin of death, astatine 46% of reported deaths nationwide. Suicide is the second-highest origin of death, astatine 30%. While determination were comparatively less cause oregon intoxicant intoxication deaths, 178, that’s 4 times the fig reported successful 2000.
The section NAACP is calling for accountability for the deaths of Becton, Gordon, Straughn, Turner and Patel. The enactment issued the pursuing connection yesterday (Wednesday) evening. The aesculapian study and the connection from ACPD astir erstwhile the probe volition beryllium completed are some caller pieces of information, and ACPD’s update came Thursday morning, aft this connection was released.
The Arlington NAACP’s astir important question is who is not cooperating with whom due to the fact that thing other makes sense. It’s been 10 positive months, and each the household and assemblage get is the blistery murphy treatment. When we talk to members of the County Board, they accidental speech to the Commonwealth Attorney. The Commonwealth Attorney says the constabulary aren’t finished. The Arlington County Police accidental talk to the Sheriff. With the objection of 1 missive dated October 26, 2020, the Sheriff has been silent. Her soundlessness is the lone portion of this that makes immoderate consciousness due to the fact that Mr. Becton someway died successful a locked compartment successful the jailhouse she runs. Their corporate attraction of the household is highly disrespectful and compounds their grief and the concerns of citizens. Mr. Becton’s loved ones merit to cognize what the aesculapian examiner determined was his origin of death, and they inactive can’t adjacent get that elemental answer.
Who volition beryllium held accountable for the deaths of 5 minorities successful instrumentality enforcement custody successful the past 5 years? What changes volition beryllium made truthful it doesn’t hap again, and again? There was nary crushed different Black antheral should person died portion successful custody. What is going connected here?
This 10 positive period ordeal is precisely the unexplained and possibly unexplainable hold that occasioned the NAACP’s interest with the County Board relegating a community constabulary oversight board to a review-only function. Our interest that determination is nary mechanics to guarantee timely constabulary investigations prompted the adoption of our written proposal for a 60-day clip bounds connected the concurrent ACPD/[Independent Policing Auditor] investigation. And that was a struggle. Yet truthful far, the ACPD/Sheriff’s Office probe has tally 5 times that long, with nary extremity successful show oregon truthful overmuch arsenic an inkling of the circumstances of Mr. Becton’s death. We Are Done Dying! Arlington deserves truthful overmuch much than the disrespect being shown to the Becton household and our communities of colour by these inexplicable delays by our ain elected officials.