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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On October 8, Middlesex County agreed to pay $325,000 to the estate of Humberto Alfonso, who died while in custody at the county’s correctional facility.
Alfonso was a pre-trial detainee, charged but not tried for a crime, and died in the jail on February 28, 2011. His family sued the county, but that matter will not end up in a courtroom either.
Lena Delgado de Torres, the representative for Alfonso’s estate, came to an agreement with Middlesex County, that the county would pay $325,000 instead of taking the matter to court.
According to the corrections officers, an altercation occurred when they attempted to move Alfonso to the facility’s medical area.
A report by one of the officers states that the reason they were trying to move Alfonso to the medical area was that he acknowledged that he had ingested intoxicating controlled substances over the weekend, prior to his arrest.
The report states that Alfonso did not fully comply with the orders made by the officers, and resisted when one of the officers attempted to physically turn him over.
The first names of the officers involved have not been disclosed, and the last names of some of the officers involved have not been disclosed.
Multiple officers, including defendants Knight, Poulson, Castro, and Estevez, allegedly assaulted Alfonso, reportedly in an attempt to handcuff him.
After Alfonso had been handcuffed, he was illegally pepper sprayed directly in the face, in violation of protocol, according to the lawsuit.
The officers then attempted to bring Alfonso to aftercare, but he resisted by flailing his body and kicking out, but they eventually brought him to the facility’s medical unit.
According to reports filed by an officer, Alfonso was speaking incoherently at this time.
When a nurse in the medical unit tried to ask Alfonso questions, he allegedly refused to answer in his incoherent state.
The defending officers then forced Alfonso into a restraint chair in which his arms, legs, and shoulders were immobilized.
Shortly after Alfonso was put in the chair the nurse observed that he was “unresponsive,” and he was moved from the chair to a stretcher. Nurses performed CPR on Alfonso but he died shortly afterwards.
The autopsy of Alfonso revealed that during the incident that resulted in his death, he had been pepper sprayed in both eyes, unnecessarily increasing his pain and agony.