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Coroner's report doctored to exculpate sheriff

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    The following article, attributed to Arizona Republic reporter Christina Leonard, appeared on page B10 of the Saturday, August 30, 2003 edition of The Arizona
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 30, 2003
      The following article, attributed to Arizona Republic reporter Christina
      Leonard, appeared on page B10 of the Saturday, August 30, 2003 edition of
      The Arizona Republic. Looks like Sheriff Arpaio has a friend in the
      Medical Examiner's Office.

      --Kevin Walsh

      NEW REPORT: 2001 DEATH NOT LINKED TO JAIL CHAIR

      The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office has amended its autopsy report
      on a man who died after being strapped into a jailhouse restraint chair,
      saying positional asphyxia was not responsible for his death.

      Charles Agster, 33, of Phoenix, died three days after being buckled into a
      restraint chair at Maricopa County's Madison Street Jail in Phoenix in
      August 2001.

      "We said from the beginning we did nothing wrong," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said
      Friday. "You have to go by the facts and not what the defense attorneys say
      in public."

      The original autopsy report listed positional asphyxiation and drugs as the
      cause of death. But the amended version, released almost two years after the
      original, says Agster's methamphetamine level was sufficient to produce a
      cardiac arrhythmia.

      "The reported behavior of the decedent is not that of a rational individual
      and bolsters the conclusion that he was delirious," the report states.

      Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Philip Keen wrote that further review, which
      included a jail video, led to the reversal. The report lists Agster's death
      as "accidental."

      Agster's mother filed a suit against the Sheriff's Office over the death,
      claiming that jail medical staff and deputies knew he was in distress but did
      not call 911 until 11 minutes after he stopped breathing.

      The case is ongoing.
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