Riverside County inmate pleaded for help before death, video shows

A ProPublica investigation reveals disturbing details in the case of a 51-year-old man who died in the custody of the sheriff's department in Riverside County.
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (KABC) -- A ProPublica investigation reveals disturbing details regarding the case of a 51-year-old man who died in the custody of the sheriff's department in Riverside County.

The investigation reveals that in 2017, Phillip Garcia was arrested and held in restraints for more than 20 hours while in the midst of a mental health crisis.

Video obtained by ProPublica shows weapons - such as a stinger grenade - and the force used to move Garcia from jail to a special unit for inmates at the county hospital in Riverside.

Footage obtained from ProPublica shows a tactical team help move Garcia to a hospital bed. A deputy is seen placing a plastic shield on his face as the other deputies restrain him.

"Somebody's gotta help me. Please, man," Garcia yells out as the deputies redo the restraints.

Garcia is seen in the video drenched in sweat.

Records obtained by ProPublica show that Garcia was diagnosed earlier in the day by the emergency department with a potentially life-threatening condition, rhabdomyolysis, brought on by overexertion.

Hours after the incident, Garcia was dead.

The coroner ruled his death a homicide because Garcia died at the hands of other people.

Initially, Garcia was arrested for allegedly assaulting his roommate after police responded to a call about him smashing a neighbor's window.

ProPublica says its investigation showed deputies "falsified jail logs, then made false statements in their reports" after Garcia died.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Department denied any wrongdoing and no deputies were disciplined, but the county settled a wrongful death lawsuit for nearly $1 million dollars.
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