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DEPUTIES WON'T BE CHARGED IN DEATH D.A REPORT CITES CIRCUMSTANCES.

Byline: Troy Anderson Staff Writer

Los Angeles County sheriff's employees who hogtied and shocked a Castaic jail inmate three times with a Taser gun acted lawfully and will not be criminally charged in the inmate's death, prosecutors said Monday.

In July, relatives of Jerry John Moreno, 33, filed two wrongful-death claims totaling $12 million against the Sheriff's Department. They alleged Moreno was hogtied and lying face-down when he arrived at the hospital, with a blanket wrapped around his head.

In a letter explaining why charges would not be filed, Deputy District Attorney Christina Fleming Buckley wrote that Moreno lost control Jan. 10 at Pitchess Detention Center while under the influence of drugs. He climbed on top of some bunk beds, yelled incoherently, armed himself with a piece of aluminum and swung it around wildly, injuring another inmate.

Deputies fired 12 to 15 pepper balls at Moreno and used a Taser gun to shock him, but it did not subdue him, Buckley wrote.

Deputies entered the cell and attempted to handcuff him, but he struggled and his head either struck the bottom rail of the bed or the concrete floor, according to Buckley. During the melee, he bit two deputies.

Deputies finally handcuffed him and secured his ankles with a device attached to his handcuffs behind his back.

They later covered his head with a towel to prevent him from spitting or biting anyone. He remained lying on his stomach while he was transported to an area hospital, but no effort was made to reposition him onto his side in compliance with department policy.

At the hospital, medical personnel found him in full cardiac arrest. He was revived, but four days later was declared brain-dead and taken off life support.

``Ultimately, it took the combined efforts of eight deputies to restrain Moreno who at the time of the incident was under the influence of methamphetamine and marijuana,'' Buckley wrote.

Office of Independent Review attorney Stephen Connolly said sheriff's Internal Affairs investigators will now probe the case and determine whether any discipline is warranted or if policies need to be changed.

Troy Anderson, (213) 974-8985

troy.anderson(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 27, 2005
Words:358
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