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District Attorney Reviews Jail Death

The District Attorney has cleared Shasta County Jail staff of wrongdoing in the death of an inmate last year. 58-year-old Teddy Abbie was brought in September 11th on a parole violation, and had a history of being a problem inmate at the jail. He was placed in a holding cell, and the following morning staff tried to move him to the third floor with the general population but he didn’t want to go without his medication. He said if they forced him to go upstairs he would start a fight with another inmate. He also said he would hang himself, so deputies decided to move him to a safety cell. Abbie still didn’t want to go and when he moved toward the deputies they knocked him down. It took a while but they eventually got him into handcuffs and leg restraints. When he calmed down he was led to the safety cell, a padded room where inmates are required to surrender their clothing. He was ordered to lay on his belly, which he did, but he kicked and rolled when they tried to take his clothes. The deputies used pepper spray on Abbie and removed his clothes using scissors. He bit one of the deputies on the leg in the process. His breathing became raspy and he stopped resisting, so they rolled him onto his side. When he recovered he began resisting again. A jail physician’s assistant came in and asked Abbie if he wanted a shot to calm him down and he was given Haldol and Benadryl. He calmed down, the cuffs and shackles were removed and he was left alone. He was checked every 15 minutes and at the third check he was not breathing. Staff used CPR and a defibrillator on Abbie until paramedics got there, but he died. The autopsy showed he had several fractured ribs, either from the fight or the CPR, and a history of hypertension and heart attacks. D.A. Stephanie Bridgett has determined that the deputies’ use of force was justified.