Mich. sergeant charged in inmate's death fired from police department

The sergeant was fired after being accused of failing to treat a clearly distressed inmate who later died of a cocaine overdose

By Gus Burns

WESTLAND, Mich. — Police on Thursday, Oct. 4 fired a sergeant accused of failing to treat a clearly distressed inmate who later died of a cocaine overdose. 

Prosecutors earlier this week announced criminal charges against Sgt. Ronald Buckley and two paramedics in the death of William Marshall.

Marshall, shortly after being arrested for cocaine and marijuana possession during a traffic stop in Westland on Dec. 10, 2017, began convulsing. 

He begged for help that he never received, according to investigators.

Paramedics responded to the jail, but never treated Marshall or even checked his vital signs while he writhed on the floor of the jail, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said. 

Buckley is accused of rejecting the paramedics' offer to take Marshall to a hospital for treatment.

Instead, Buckley returned Marshall to his cell while he was still enduring spasms. Marshall was discovered unresponsive in his jail cell just over an hour later. Despite attempts to shock his heart with a defibrillator, Marshall, 35, never regained consciousness, Worthy said. 

Following a lengthy third-party investigation conducted by Michigan State Police, Buckley, as well as former Westland paramedics Matt Discola and Leah Maynard  were each charged with manslaughter, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and misconduct in office, punishable by up to five years in prison.

Westland Police Chief Jeff Jedrusik conducted an internal investigation, including an interview with Buckley, following the issuance of charges. 

The police chief determined Buckley violated department policies and he was terminated.

All three defendants in the case were arraigned, released on personal bonds and waived their probable cause conferences. They are scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 17.

"The alleged conduct of the defendants in this case shows an inexcusable and criminal disregard for human life from those who have the duty to serve, protect and render aid to those in need," Worthy said. 

While there is video of the jail death, Worthy said it is not being released publicly at this time. 

Relatives of Marshall were awarded $3.75 million from Westland in a civil lawsuit filed after Marshall's death.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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