DOJ Inspector General investigates prison guards killing inmate with pepper spray

“He died because of the mace. You do not mace an asthmatic...They murdered my son."

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Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Thursday that his office has launched an investigation into the recent death of Jamel Floyd who was incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in Brooklyn. According to Floyd’s family, the correctional officers were aware that Floyd was suffering from asthma and diabetes when they deployed pepper spray against him until he became unresponsive.

Convicted for a home invasion in 2007, Floyd was transferred to MDC last year according to the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. On Wednesday morning, Floyd reportedly became disruptive inside his cell and broke the cell door window with a metal object.

Later that day, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons issued the following statement: “Pepper spray was deployed and staff removed him from his cell.

“Per protocol, institution medical staff immediately responded to assess the inmate, found Mr. Floyd to be unresponsive, and instantly initiated life-saving measures… There is no indication that his death was related to COVID-19.”

“He had underlying medical conditions they were aware of. They knew he had asthma and was diabetic,” Jamel Floyd’s mother Donna Mays told The New York Daily News on Thursday. “He died because of the mace. You do not mace an asthmatic…”

“They murdered my son.”

On Thursday, DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued the following press release: “The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (DOJ OIG) is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of inmate Jamel Floyd at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) Brooklyn on or about June 3, 2020. Under the Inspector General Act, the DOJ OIG has jurisdiction to investigate incidents involving DOJ law enforcement components, which includes all Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel. In conducting the investigation, we will coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which initially responded to the incident according to standard protocol and with which the DOJ OIG frequently works on incidents in BOP facilities. Consistent with DOJ OIG and Department of Justice policy, we will be unable to provide further information until the investigation is complete, at which time we will publicly disclose our findings to the greatest extent possible, consistent with applicable laws.”

According to Floyd’s mother, the Bureau of Prisons did not notify of her of her son’s death. She was notified by reporters investigating the circumstances of his death.

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