Videos Released by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Depicts Fatal Struggle at Washoe Jail

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Videos released by the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office show in gut-wrenching detail the final hours of a Reno man with a mental illness who died after struggling against deputies who kept him pinned to the floor — his face covered with a spit hood — for more than 30 minutes.

Justin Thompson, 35, was booked into the Washoe County Jail on Aug. 3 and spent 24 hours pacing an empty holding cell in growing distress, curling in the fetal position while clutching his head, stuffing toilet paper in his ears, drawing on the walls with his own blood and climbing the metal sink to talk into the ceiling vent.

It took more than a day for jail personnel to decide Thompson needed to go to the emergency room. When he returned to the jail, the violent struggle that ultimately killed him occurred. The video shows Thompson wriggling under a crowd of deputies who kicked him, kneeled heavily on his back and applied painful arm-bar holds.

During the struggle, some deputies used taunting language, saying they owned him, telling him they would make sure he “remembered it” if he lashed out and calling him stupid, an a**hole and a d**k. When he screamed for help, a deputy responded: “We are the help.”

Others calmly asked him to relax and stop resisting.

The video ends with deputies performing CPR for 15 minutes, trying unsuccessfully to revive him. 

Thompson arrived at Renown Regional Medical Center without a pulse after the Aug. 4 struggle. He lay in a hospital bed on life support for five days before the sheriff’s office notified his family and his longtime girlfriend on Aug. 9 that he was hospitalized. His family took him off life support on Aug. 12.

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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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