Local News

No Criminal Charges in 2014 Jail Death

BEND, OR -- A 14-month state investigation into the death of a Deschutes County inmate has concluded no crimes were committed by deputies or jail administrators. Edwin Mays died of a methamphetamine overdose in December 2014. 


Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to investigate the case to avoid any conflict of interest. "It wasn't her job to determine whether she was upset or bothered by what happened that night," Hummel tells KBND News. "It was her job to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred. She concluded there was not such evidence, and I support her in that decision." The report found Mays denied taking drugs the night of his arrest, and said he didn't need medical attention. 


He acknowledges mistakes were made the night Mays died. Jail surveillance video shows deputies making fun of Mays as he underwent drug withdrawal, although they did render medical aid once he became unresponsive. "What I saw on the night in question was deplorable. Government officials, government employees who work in that jail were mocking this man who was dying in front of them. It was grotesque and unprofessional. I shared that with Sheriff Nelson; he agrees and is taking corrective action."


The decision against filing criminal charges does not stop civil litigation. Hummel says, "The Mays family is still alleging that the deputies and supervisors at the Sheriff's Department are responsible for the death of their loved one. So, that lawsuit will continue."

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