The San Joaquin County Board of settled a lawsuit on Tuesday with family of a man that was arrested by Manteca Police in 2015 and died while in custody at the San Joaquin County Jail.
Alexander Jeffrey Sutherland, who was 27 at the time of his death, was taken into custody by Manteca Police on Feb. 10, 2015 after responding to a call at the 7-Eleven on E. Yosemite Avenue that there was a man drinking alcohol inside the store.
According to county documents, officers discovered Sutherland – who had been booked into the San Joaquin County Jail a total of 107 times, almost all of which were for intoxication – drinking alcohol in the bathroom. He was transported to the San Joaquin County Jail where he was placed into a sobering cell.
While correctional officers were supposed to check on Sutherland every 15 minutes, there were two increments of time, according to The Stockton Record, where that time frame lapsed before nearly an hour passed and Sutherland was found unresponsive in the cell.
An autopsy determined that Sutherland had both alcohol and methamphetamine in his system at the time of his death and was suffered from a liver disease brought on by the excessive use of alcohol. His parents, Jeffrey Sutherland and Beverly Tobey, filed a wrongful death suit against the City of Manteca and the County of San Joaquin, and the decision by the Board of Supervisors to settle case admitting no wrongdoing will result in a $300,000 payment to the family.
An investigation conducted in August of 2015 into the matter by the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Investigations Unit in tandem with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office determined that the sheriff’s office was not criminally liable for Sutherland’s death. Such investigations are standard for when an inmate in the county jail dies while in custody.
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