Reports: Force justified in death of Florida inmate, 75

Orange County Corrections Department

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Records show a 75-year-old black jail inmate in Florida died after officers used force while moving him for psychiatric observation.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office reviewed the use of force and didn’t file criminal charges against the Orange County jail officers after concluding their actions were justified.

William Howard was found unresponsive in his cell in November, days after being arrested on a charge of aggravated battery and accused of stabbing his wife.

According to an autopsy report and a review by the sheriff’s office, corrections officers performed a “take-down” while moving Howard to an observation cell, causing a neck fracture and spinal cord damage that ultimately led to Howard’s death.

A jail spokeswoman said the officers used force when Howard wouldn’t cooperate with them.

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