Video Shows Cibola County Jail Guards Not Helping as Inmate Chokes and Dies


GRANTS, N.M. – On the night of July 7, 2016, Douglas Edminsten – an inmate at the Cibola County jail in Grants – became violently sick, throwing up blood and begging to be taken to the hospital.

Instead, he was left to hours of agony and later died. Now, new video shows the correctional officers left him on the floor to die, and they’re being sued by the inmate’s family.

According to the lawsuit, Edminsten first said he was in pain at about 10:15 p.m. that night.
Video shows Cibola County jail guards standing by as inmate dies

“It made me sick to my stomach,” said attorney Glenn Valdez, who saw the video for the first time Monday. “I’m watching somebody die right in front of my eyes.”

Edminsten suffered for seven hours, and at some points he appeared to be unconscious. The other inmates were so scared for him that they read Bible passages and even formed a prayer circle.

“We know the inmates and everyone else were trying to get help, but nothing happened,” Valdez said. “He couldn’t call himself or do anything that we take for granted. So without the guards to call, he’s dead.”

An autopsy later revealed Edminsten had a ruptured blood vessel in his stomach that later led to his death. His abdomen was full of blood. Had jail guards taken him to a doctor when he first complained of the pain, it’s believed he would have had an 80 percent chance of living.

Valdez said the prison may have had an incentive not to help him.

“I think it was a financial decision that they didn’t want to pay to take him to a hospital,” he said.

Because of the pending litigation, county officials weren’t able to say much about the incident when KOB reached out for comment. They did say that policies at the jail were being reviewed, but there have been no changes yet.

The Cibola County manager also said was an external investigation of Edminsten’s death, but he would not reveal the conclusions of that.