“More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.”

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Florida teen is arrested for small amount of pot, sustains a head injury after an incident with the guards, suffers a stroke, and dies in his jail cell.

A West Palm Beach grand jury declared “fundamentally inadequate” the medical care given to an 18-year-old who died after two head injuries he received at the county juvenile lockup were ignored for hours by guards, supervisors and the facility’s superintendent.

Eric Perez, who was detained after being arrested with a small amount of marijuana, died in the early morning hours of July 9 after spending most of the prior night hallucinating, vomiting, soiling himself and seeking help from guards who ignored him. The grand jury’s report, issued Friday, said Eric had been dead for an hour before lockup corrections officers noticed he had passed away. An officer stationed outside his cell had checked on him every 10 minutes without noticing his death.

“The only attempt to seek an outside medical opinion during the entire episode was two phone calls to the head nurse that went unanswered during the night,” the report, called a presentment, said. “The officers’ response to Mr. Perez’s hallucinations, instability and cries of pain were to simply observe him as he lay on the floor vomiting and defecating in his underwear. More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.”

The Medical Examiner’s Office in West Palm Beach ruled the cause of death to be intracranial hemorrhage, a type of stroke, of unknown origin. The manner of death was undetermined.

The head injury apparently happened after an incident between Perez and some guards that the report calls “horseplay.” It isn’t clear from the report if the jury came to that conclusion from surveillance video, or if that’s how the guards described the incident.
The important thing here is that the government has successfully protected another young person from the harm of marijuana. Perez will never smoke pot again.

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30 Responses to ““More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.””

  1. #1 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    He was ignored, I believe, because of the way he got his injuries: by staff brutalization. Had he received pprompt attention, there would have been a lot of questions asked. They had hoped he’d sleep it off.



    In a lock-up with other guards?

    Bullshit on a stick.

  2. #2 |  goober1223 | 

    As often as these incidents seem to happen, I seem to be getting more sensitive to them each time I read about one as opposed to less.

  3. #3 |  Bob | 




    In a lock-up with other guards?

    Bullshit on a stick.

    My thoughts exactly.

  4. #4 |  picachu | 

    Well one thing’s for sure. This story won’t be on the national evening news anywhere.

  5. #5 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    As someone who has spent a few nights in that overcrowded hellhole
    of PB County gaol, based on an incident where I was just walking down the damned street, I can vouch that cops in that county seem to consider themselves vastly superior to mere “pedestrians,” to the extent
    that *being* a mere pedestrian makes you “suspicious.”
    Oddlly, the rich complacent people who live there don’t seem to give a damn.

  6. #6 |  Roho | 

    I, for one, totally believe the ‘horseplay’ claim. I just don’t believe Mr. Perez was involved in it, at least from that perspective. The guards were enjoying their typical horseplay; Mr. Perez was suffering a beatdown.

  7. #7 |  Marty | 

    my mom was incarcerated. she checked into medical 8 times over a 2 week period complaining about severe headaches. CMS was the company running the medical services. Mom received 2 advils TOTAL. Before she was locked up, mom was a medical professional- she was scared. Her cellmate called me. I drove 3 hours and begged them to help her. NO. 2 days later, she had an aneurysm rupture. I got a phone call that ‘she probably wasn’t going to make it’ and that she was in surgery at a nearby hospital. Looking through the paperwork, she had be written up by the guards for ‘creating a disturbance’ and ‘unsanitary conditions’- reading the papers, she clearly had a seizure and urinated on herself. I can make this post much longer. Rest assured, this is much more common than people realize. Google ‘CMS prison death’ for more stories. Karen, from the Prison Death Institute, is an amazing resource if anyone ever runs into this nightmare and is looking for advice. http://www.wrongfuldeathinstitute.com/
    malpractice attorneys won’t touch this…
    there’s a special place in hell for guards.
    condolences to the family.

  8. #8 |  Personanongrata | 

    Another shining example of neo-professionalism at work.

    The fractions-of-human-beings masquerading themselves about as “guards” in West Palm Beach need to be wiped off the collective sole of societies shoe like the repugnant dog shit they are.

  9. #9 |  EH | 

    If the statement that one cop made holds up, that the other didn’t want to deal with it because of the paperwork, their goose is cooked.

  10. #10 |  hamburglar007 | 

    Horseplay, seriously? I mean wtf?

  11. #11 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Since this is how the Government chooses to protect us from marijuana, I am in no hurry to have them protecting us from Obesity.

  12. #12 |  BT | 

    Both links go to the report. The first one should go to the story: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/09/v-fullstory/2684875/grand-jury-rips-jailers-for-ignoring.html#storylink=cpy

    No surprise, it has happened before (but interesting to read about the guy who resigned)

    Eric’s death is eerily similar to the death of a 17-year-old in the Miami lockup eight years earlier.

    Omar Paisley, who had been detained at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center after getting into a fight, died June 9 of a ruptured appendix after begging guards and nurses for three days for medical attention. A grand jury rendered a blistering 50-page report that criticized “the utter lack of humanity demonstrated” by officers at the 226-bed Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention. Omar’s death, the panel said, was “tragic” and “preventable.”

    “History repeats itself, and this was, frankly, inevitable,” said former Miami-Dade Superintendent Dale Dobuler, who took over the lockup in Miami following Omar’s death, and left three years later, saying there was nothing he could do to help prevent a similar tragedy from unfolding again.

    Oh yeah, and about that “horseplay”…

    Perez was being housed in module B-2 of the Palm Beach Regional Juvenile Detention Center on July 9 at about 7:40 p.m. when he and other detainees were taken to a cafeteria for snacks. When the youths were finished eating, an ordinary search of the boys for contraband food turned into an episode of “horseplay,” as officers laughed and joked with the youths they were searching, the report said.

    Eric was “roughly tossed in the air, striking the wall and/or floor with his head and shoulder as he came down,” the report said. Security video from that day showed Eric wobbly on his feet after he fell.

  13. #13 |  croaker | 

    @4 If it was a rich white kid we’d never hear the end of it.

  14. #14 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “An officer stationed outside his cell had checked on him every 10 minutes without noticing his death.”

    Really? The absence of chest rise and respiration sounds didn’t get the officer’s attention. That is rudimentary first aid stuff there. And the whole sit there as he vomits and defecates on himself is pretty charming stuff too. PCSO deprives this kid of his humanity because he allegedly bought a weed that the government doesn’t approve of? Very humane stuff.

    Us and them. Bad guys vs. good guys. Dopers vs. good citizens. LEO’s vs. “those people.” Man’s obsession with duality somehow makes this atrocity acceptable in the eyes of some. Nuke ’em! Kill ’em all and let god sort it out! But the next victim could be you. Or your child. But this is all beside the point: How could we let this happen to another person?

  15. #15 |  SJE | 

    The symptoms described are entirely consistent with serious traumatic injury, most likely a brain injury. If A and B have a physical interaction, and B gets a traumatic brain injury that leads to his death, there is a presumptive basis to charge A with B’s death. Of course you need to see the other factors: prior medical condition, extenuating circumstances (like A and B were in MMA contest), or A was trying to stop B from escaping. However, here you have B being a WARD of A, under not just the CONTROL but the CARE of A. In what F-ing universe is A allowed to get off?

  16. #16 |  James J.B. | 

    SJE – Unfortunately, ours.

    As said above the evening news won’t report this – doesn’t fit the memo. Disagree that his race matters (on reporting) – the evening news job is to put everyone at ease -its all ok, go to bed, wake up and go to work tomorrow, the other governments are worse to their citizens, etc.

    How much group think to you have to believe in before you look at a kid (mouthy or not) soiling his pants, displaying these symptoms, and do NOTHING. Not for an hour. Unbelieveable.

    These incidents, rarely if ever, produce a Hugh Thompson like figure (great man – google his story) that stops the bad stuff. It is sad really, what our society has become.

    Prayers to the family –

  17. #17 |  Jerry Sandusky | 

    Yes….”horseplay”. It goes on more often than you probably realize and in the most surprising places.

  18. #18 |  Silver | 

    @12: if it was a rich white kid, it would have never happened because he wouldn’t have been in jail at all.

  19. #19 |  derfel cadarn | 

    It seems that “horseplay” is becoming epidemic amongst our oh so professional LEOs. Shenanigans are occurring in the vast majority of encounters with mundanes and their pets. With such a high level and increasing frequency of such hijinks it is no wonder that the public feels little need to extend to said LEOs the respect they so desperately crave. Perhaps if a little professionalism and responsibility were shown public opinion might begin to nudge towards the positive. We are always told it is a few bad apples if so where are all the “good apples”? Why are the good apples quiet have they no honor?

  20. #20 |  Marty | 

    #18- exactly right. people of modest means use public defenders and the public defenders will steer you to accept some ridiculous plea that a decent legal team would never settle for.

  21. #21 |  StrangeOne | 

    #14 Helmet

    I would say, given the professionalism of the guards in their “horseplay” and other duties, that he was never being checked on at all. What most likely happened is that some guard was signing his name off on the 10 minute check either without doing it at all, or while paroling the halls without even looking in the cells. In all likelihood the vomit and feces from his death is probably the only thing that got anyone’s attention, and they didn’t notice or care that he was dead until they went to clean up the cell.

    All this proves is that the most dangerous thing about pot is what the government can do to you once you are caught with it. If you happen to be a black teenager you can even get the death sentence, without trial or appeal.

  22. #22 |  EBL | 

    My condolences to his family. My outrage to these guards and correction officials responsible for this.

  23. #23 |  marco73 | 

    Horseplay = New Professionalism. Justice Scalia is unavailable for comment.

  24. #24 |  Mike | 

    #5 Yizmo Gizmo what scares me is how many once separate local police jurisdictions have joined together with the PBSO. The PBSO keeps getting stronger and the citizens lose.

  25. #25 |  Pam | 

    So, horseplay is why it happened, but it doesn’t explain why they ignored him while he was dying. There is a whole chunk missing after the “horseplay” explanation.

  26. #26 |  Charlie O | 

    This story, the Nick Christie story, etc. is the primary reason I will never, ever allow myself to be placed in custody by any LEO. For any reason. No matter how minor an offense some scumbag with a badge deems I should be arrested for. I prefer to die with a gun in my hand on the street, than covered in my own feces in some jail cell.

  27. #27 |  GeneralGarbage | 

    In fairness, it is a well known fact that in the american criminal justice system the guards are remarkably playful with their charges.

  28. #28 |  Doubleu | 

    The parents are filing a lawsuit.

  29. #29 |  Militant Libertarian » “More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.” | 

    […] Posted: March 28th, 2012 by Militant Libertarian from The Agitator […]

  30. #30 |  FreeWestRadio.com » Blog Archive » “More effort was spent cleaning the floor around the youth than attending to his welfare.” | 

    […] from The Agitator […]