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Oregon Dept. of Justice agrees to review jail inmate death


The Oregon Department of Justice said Tuesday that it has agreed to review the death of an inmate last December at the Deschutes County Jail in Bend, as requested by DA John Hummel.

Hummel made that request last week in the case of of Edwin Mays, an inmate who died Dec. 14 of a methamphetamine overdose, according to an autopsy by thes tate medical examiner.

Hummel said he asked the department to take the case after he reviewed the investigation and jail security video of the incident, deciding it was in the best interest of the community for an outside opinion.

Department of Justice spokeswoman Kristina Edmuson said the attorney general’s office will review the investigation into Mays’ death conducted by the sheriff’s office.

She said the DOJ then will decide what should be done next. Options include opening its own investigation into the death and jail, closing the case or providing recommendations to Hummel.

Edmuson said she does not know how long the investigation will take.

Video from the jail shows deputies laughing and mimicking Mays as he overdosed in a booking cell. On the video, jail staff can be heard commenting that Mays probably needed to go to the hospital, several hours before he died.

The Mays family is suing the sheriff’s office for wrongful death in state court and also plans to do so in federal court, once the DOJ completes its investigation.

It’s not the only time the jail and staff have faced civil lawsuits in recent years. NewsChannel 21 is reviewing these lawsuits and settlements the jail has paid and plans to have that story this week.

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