The Onondaga County Sheriff's Department is being blamed for causing the death of an inmate two years ago.
Raul Pinet, Jr. died at the Onondaga County Justice Center on August 6, 2010.
A report from the State Commission of Correction ruled the death a homicide. It cites Pinet's death was caused by "asphyxia during restraint."
Pinet was arrested around 8:00 p.m. on August 6, 2010. He was taken to the Justice Center and restrained in the "time out" room, according to the report. He stopped responding a short time later.
The report says sheriff's deputies knelt on Pinet's back and neck, and that a spit mask was not put on his face correctly. Both of these interfered with Pinet's ability to breathe, according to the report. The report also says there was a video recording documenting the events of the night, which is standard procedure at the Justice Center.
This disputes the initial report from the Onondaga County Medical's Examiner's office, which says Pinet died as a result of â??cocaine-induced excited deliriumâ??.
The Onondaga County Attorney will not comment on pending litigation.
This is the 4th inmate death at the Justice Center since 2008. "We have been looking into these deaths. We have been calling for accountability," said Barrie Gewanter with the NY Civil Liberties Union. "Fix the problem. This man was arrested, he was innocent until proven guilty. He was not even arraigned in front of a court and yet he died because of the actions of the staff at the jail. The sheriff needs to take steps now to make sure this never happens again."
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick acknowledged the report from the State Commission of Correction and says his investigation will continue.
Fitzpatrick plans to meet with Pinet's family this week.