ICE detainee dies at Calhoun County jail in Battle Creek

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Battle Creek — A 58-year-old detainee of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement died Friday at the Calhoun County Correctional Facility following medical complications, ICE officials said.

Jesse Jermone Dean Jr., a Bahamian national, died at 11:38 a.m., one day after he was admitted into the facility's medical unit, according to ICE.

Dean is the first ICE detainee in Michigan to die in custody during the coronavirus pandemic and the 10th nationally.

Calhoun County Correctional Facility in Battle Creek

Dean was arrested by ICE on Dec. 31 after his release from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at North Lake Correctional Facility in Baldwin, Michigan. Dean was released after completing a 30-year federal sentence on charges of conspiracy to possess and import cocaine. ICE did not say why he was arrested after leaving the facility.

"ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive, agency-wide review of this incident, as it does following all deaths in custody," the agency said in a statement Tuesday.

Calhoun County and ICE officials told The Detroit News that Dean's death is not related to the coronavirus. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said it has been denied Dean's medical records.

An autopsy will be performed by the Calhoun County Medical Examiner, and Dean's death is being investigated by Michigan State Police, the jail said.

Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan, said Dean was a medically-vulnerable client and part of a class-action lawsuit against the county jail that seeks to have detainees at high risk of contracting COVID-19 released.

"He should be free and alive today," Aukerman said.

The Calhoun County Correctional Facility, the largest ICE detention center in the state, has had 80 positive COVID-19 cases during the pandemic, jail officials said. They added there are none currently although 22 tests were pending Tuesday morning.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_