Video was released last week from a Nevada jail that shows the last minutes of a mentally ill Reno man’s life before he died during a struggle with deputies who pinned him to the floor with a spit hood covering his head during booking procedures.
During the struggle, deputies can be seen taunting 35-year-old Justin Thomson telling him they “owned” him and would make sure he “remembered it” adding he was an “asshole” and a “dick.”
For more than 30 minutes, more than a dozen deputies take turns kicking, tasering, insulting and crushing the wind from Thomson’s lungs even after he told them several times he could not breathe due to the mask over his head.
When Thomson screamed out for help, a deputy replies, “We are the help!”
“I believe anyone who watches this video will understand why I was concerned about the handling of this incident and why I immediately called for an outside investigation,” said Sheriff Chuck Allen who runs the Washoe County Jail where a sharp increase of in-custody deaths began just after Allen took office.
Washoe County Sheriff Chuck Allen
Justin Thomson, 35, was one of three men who’ve died during a struggle with deputies attempting to restrain them during the past two years–in addition to ten others who’ve died from accidents, suicides and natural causes since Allen took office.
It took more than a day for jail personnel to decide Thompson needed to go to an emergency room after he was booked into the Washoe County Jail on domestic battery charges on August 3 where he spent more than 24 hours pacing his cell, curling up in a fetal position while clutching his head, plugging his ears with toilet paper, drawing on cell walls with his own blood and climbing onto the metal sink to talk into the vent.
After returning to the