Man Who Died in Police Custody Suffered a Drug Overdose, Family Suing
EL CENTRO – According to a Coroner’s report, an El Centro man who died in the back of a squad car, ingested a lethal amount of methamphetamine.
On Thursday, the Imperial County Coroner’s Office released the toxicology results on Charles Sampson, Sr., 58, whose death occurred on Dec. 3 following his arrest. The report ruled that the death was caused by acute methamphetamine intoxication which was exacerbated by a heart condition. There is also video and audio footage of the scene, which was examined by the Coroner’s Office, but this is not available to the public due to a pending lawsuit.
Sampson was pulled over by officers on his way to a convenience store on Dec. 3 at which time police stated they discovered a shotgun and a pipe used for methamphetamine in his vehicle. Sampson was on probation after being convicted of scrap metal theft. Officers detained the man in the back of their vehicle, while they searched his home for further probation violations.
The search took several hours. According to the coroner’s report, the camera footage inside the police vehicle shows Sampson place an item in his mouth and proceeded to chew and swallow it. Family members reported that Sampson exhibits signs of duress and claim that the officers did not respond to their requests for medical attention.
Officers found no further evidence at Sampson’s home and at approximately 8:30 p.m., he was transported to the El Centro Police Department for booking. According to police he was offered medical attention at the station, but declined it. He continued to exhibit signs of duress and police requested to take him to El Centro Medical Center for medical clearance before booking into jail. Sampson became quiet just before arrival at the hospital and once in the parking lot, officers discovered he had no pulse. He was pronounced dead by hospital medical staff at 9:52 p.m.
Sampson’s family has filed a wrongful death claim.
IVPressOnline: Family raises concerns about in-custody death