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Milwaukie, OR — A mother announced a lawsuit this week after a deeply disturbing video showed her Army veteran son suffering an agonizing last few moments of his life in a jail cell as deputies laughed at and filmed him.
In a show of transparency, Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts released the video showing his deputies laugh as Bryan Perry writhes around in agony in his cell. After thrashing and moaning for hours as deputies and medical staff neglected and laughed at him, he was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Perry’s family has now filed a lawsuit against the department and medical staff, who they say failed to property treat him on that November day in 2016.
Roberts said in a statement that “The laughter, substance, and tone of several comments heard from my employees in that video were inappropriate, and do not conform to our professional standards.”
The ACLU also released a statement last week noting that the video exposes a serious problem with the state’s jails.
“Sometimes the jails outsource the medical care to private for-profit companies,” said Kelly Simon, a staff attorney with the ACLU. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that corners are going to get cut and human lives are going to be impacted by that.”
“Everybody who goes to jail has the right to medical care regardless of their worst mistake or their worst day,” Simon said.
As the video shows, Perry is seen in horrifying agony, thrashing around his jail cell in a clear state of distress. Instead of attempting to help the veteran, however, deputies and medical staff joked about his condition.
Deputies are heard joking about using the video they are taking as a commercial for DARE as one of the deputies cracks a joke and they all start laughing.
Perry and his girlfriend were arrested together that night and they told each other “I love you,” as they were brought to different cells. His girlfriend had no idea that would be the last time she would see him.
“We should go show this to his girlfriend and be like, ‘You love this?’ ” one of the deputies said on the recording.
Perry admitted that he and his girlfriend had ingested bath salts — a dangerous substance that has increased in popularity over the last decade thanks largely in part to the war on drugs.
Perry arrived at the jail after 7 p.m., according to police reports. By about 11:45 p.m., he was deemed unresponsive and rushed to a hospital while in cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at 12:16 a.m.
Perry’s girlfriend also experienced similar symptoms from the drugs.
“[She] was not responding verbally and had begun to foam at the mouth brown and bloody looking fluid,” one deputy’s report reads.
She, however, was taken to the hospital two hours before Perry and would make a recovery.
As for the deputies who filmed and laughed as the veteran died in front of them, the sheriff said they were disciplined and one resigned.
“We conducted an internal investigation and took disciplinary action against the employees who still worked at the Sheriff’s Office,” Roberts said in his statement. “The employee who filmed the video had resigned by the time of that investigation.”
Roberts refused to elaborate one what discipline they faced.
Perry, 31, had served in the Iraq War, was honorably discharged, and received a Purple Heart.
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