Last week a 27-year-old Manteca man was discovered dead in a county jail cell after Manteca Police officers arrested him earlier that night for public intoxication outside of a 7-Eleven convenience store.
Alexander Jeffery Sutherland was taken to the San Joaquin County Jail on Feb. 11. According to reports, he was placed alone in a holding cell. Shortly after midnight correctional officers discovered that he was unresponsive and requested an ambulance as custody medical staff attempted to revive Sutherland. Paramedics from American Medical Response arrived and were in communication with a doctor who, according to a press release from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, pronounced Sutherland dead at the jail.
A protocol investigation is ongoing.
But the family, who was initially told that they couldn’t see his body because it “was evidence,” is asking for clarification and answers about how he ended up dead.
“We all worked through this, tried to get Alex some help, and Alex had a drinking problem,” the young man’s father, Jeffrey Sutherland said in an interview with a Sacramento Fox News affiliate. He said that while he did panhandle at times, and often drank too much, his son had a clean criminal record.
The father said that officers told him that his son had passed out during his arrest, and that they noticed he was unresponsive when they made the next pass by his cell. When they made attempts to revive him – he didn’t further clarify what “unresponsive” meant – they were unsuccessful.
“I said, ‘Wait a minute – why didn’t you take him to San Joaquin General Hospital because they told me he was not responding?” Jeffrey Sutherland asked in the interview. “He said well he did wake up for a while after we booked him.”
The determination of the cause of death will likely take between three and six months pending an autopsy and toxicology results. Until then the matter will be under investigation.
Sutherland is set to be buried today at Cherokee Memorial Funeral Home in Lodi at 1 p.m.