Sheriff Shows Video of Dallas Jail Lobby Death

     DALLAS (CN) – Bowing to public pressure, Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez released video Friday of an unarmed white man seeking help in a jail lobby before being restrained, losing consciousness and dying.
     Joseph Hutcheson, 48, of Arlington, parked his truck outside the county jail on the morning of Aug. 1 and ran inside, yelling that his wife was trying to kill him. The video shows Hutcheson wandering around the front doors of the lobby until he is approached by sheriff’s deputies who then leave.
     When three deputies return, Hutcheson is taken down and handcuffed. Hutcheson is seen flailing his legs on the ground before going limp, with deputies quickly performing CPR. The video had no audio.
     Officials had previously said Hutcheson was handcuffed to calm him and prevent him from being a threat to himself or others. Witnesses have said Hutcheson told deputies he could not breathe and that his face turned blue before he was taken to the hospital and died.
     At a news conference Friday, Valdez said Hutcheson was released from nearby Parkland Memorial Hospital immediately before the incident. Flanked by several deputies and Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price, Valdez said Hutcheson checked into the hospital at 4:20 a.m. and checked out at 9:00 a.m. against doctor’s wishes.
     Hutcheson walked into the jail lobby at 10:24 a.m., Valdez said.
     Valdez asked any witnesses to the incident to please come forward and contact investigators, noting there were at least 40 people in the lobby that morning. She declined to answer any questions, citing the on-going investigation.
     Hours earlier, sheriff’s officials showed the footage to members of Hutcheson’s family. Hutcheson’s mother, Ruth Boatner, was visibly upset and emotional as she left the building with Hutcheson’s wife, Nicole, and attorney I. Scott Lidji.
     The release of the video contradicts earlier fears by Valdez that the video could “compromise” the investigation, that “witnesses could change their statements” due to what they see in the news.
     Hutcheson’s family and supporters have put intense pressure on Valdez for answers, holding several protests outside of the jail. Nicole Hutcheson has blasted sheriff’s officials for saying they believed Hutcheson had drugs in his truck before they retracted the statement on Aug. 2.
     Nicole Hutcheson said on Aug. 17 it was an attempt at “dehumanizing” her husband.
     “There is probably a cover-up here and I’m not having it,” she said during a protest outside of the jail. “I will fight until the day I die until I get justice for Joseph.”
     She compared the case with that of Christian Taylor, an unarmed black suspect who was shot to death at an Arlington car dealership three weeks ago. Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson has been lauded for quickly firing the rookie white police officer who shot Taylor and for quickly informing the public of details of his investigation .
     “I want answers. I deserve answers and I want them really quickly,” Nicole Hutcheson said. “Mr. Taylor got his answers, and I’m still sitting there waiting. I want those tapes released and I want to know, who is the man that stood on my husband’s neck?”

%d bloggers like this: