that a man had died in the San Francisco County Jailshortly after
being booked on Sunday. That man was 43-year-old Earl Brown, Jr. who had been brought in for battery on a police officer, drug possession, trespassing, resisting arrest, and criminal threats.
Brown was "agitated and combative" while being booked, according to the sheriff's office, so he was placed in a safety cell. Two minutes later, he was unconscious. Shortly after, he was pronounced dead.
Apparently, the police, the Sheriff's Department, and the Medical Examiner's office are all conducting separate investigations. We're wondering about one investigation in particular -- that of the ME's office. We're wondering how long we can expect to wait to learn what physically caused Brown's death.
If the Issiah Downes case is any indicator, it'll be a really long time.
Should you not remember the Downes case, here's a refresher. He was a
31-year-old being held in San Francisco County jail, serving four years
for involuntary manslaughter. Downes had punched a man named Vong Lieu
in 2000 in the Sunset District, and Lieu died a month later.
Sept. 7 of last year, Downes apparently caused a disturbance in County Jail No. 1
and attacked the deputies. They restrained him, using force and two
pairs of hand-cuffs, and when it was all over, Downes had passed out in a
safety cell and died.
More than six months later, the ME's office still has not determined the
cause of Downes' death. Steve Gelman, the administrator at the ME's
office, left a message saying that Downes death is still under "active investigation."
Why is it that "active" just doesn't sound like the right word?