Activists discuss concerns over inmate deaths

Two inmate deaths in Syracuse within the last 9 months is prompting discussion among local peace groups.

"What we're trying to do is organize community support around these cases," said Derek Ford with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. Coaltion, which stands for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, hosted the forum Friday night at the ArtRage Gallery.

Peace activists took the podium, calling for the community to stand up for civil rights and liberties, especially for those who are behind bars.

"We hope we start the process of asking, raising the concern, I think it's important that we hold people accountable for wrong doing. And we have to stop violating the rights of human beings," said Luz Encarnacion with the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Many had strong opinions on what caused Chuniece Patterson and Raul Pinet Jr.'s death, and even made allegations of police brutality. "These problems are indicative of a real systematic issue, flaws within the prison system," said Ford.

A report by the State Commission of Corrections says nurses in the justice center were negligent, and Patterson's death could have been prevented.

"I hope that we can start building solid community support for this issue, because how many people are going to have to die before action is taken," said Ashley Sauers.

An investigation is currently looking into what caused Raul Pinet Jr.'s death last weekend. Sheriff Kevin Walsh says he is waiting for the autopsy results, but says deputies followed protocol. Click here for a link to our interview with Walsh about the incident.