2 North Texas detention officers indicted in inmate's death

AP News
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Posted: Nov 23, 2015 8:47 PM

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A grand jury indicted two North Texas detention officers Monday in connection with the death of a man who died while in custody at the Arlington city jail.

Stephen Schmidt and Pedro Medina were each indicted on a charge of criminally negligent homicide for the death of Jonathan Paul, the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office said in a statement.

Court records did not list attorneys for either Schmidt or Medina. The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office said both men were released after each posting bonds of $5,000. Neither Medina, 33, nor Schmidt, 57, could immediately be reached for comment.

The 42-year-old Paul died on March 13 — four days after being arrested in his apartment complex on a disturbance call. Witnesses said that Paul was screaming and throwing items out of an upstairs window.

Police said that detention officers had to restrain Paul while in jail as he continued to be agitated and placed him in an isolation cell, where he was later found unresponsive. He died at a hospital.

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner has listed Paul's cause of death as "in-custody death with application of physical restraints" and also listed "acute psychosis" as a significant condition. The manner of death was undetermined.

The Arlington Police Department said that it has placed Medina on administrative leave with pay. Schmidt, who was lead detention officer, retired from the police department on Oct. 22.

"This has been a difficult case for our community," Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson said in a statement. "We promised a thorough and vigorous investigation into this matter. Now that the Grand Jury proceeding has concluded, we are eager to finalize the administrative case and present the findings of the investigation to the family and our community."

The department said it hoped to complete its administrative investigation in about two weeks.

In May, Paul's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the city of Arlington and Johnson. The suit alleges the detention officers used excessive force to restrain Paul.