Prosecutor: No charges in Wayne County inmate’s death
Detroit — No criminal charges will be filed in last year’s death of a 59-year-old inmate at the Wayne County Jail, the Wayne County prosecutor announced Tuesday.
Abdul Akbar of Detroit died of hypertensive heart disease, Kym Worthy said in a press release, citing autopsy reports from the county medical examiner’s office. He died Nov. 1.
Akbar’s death was initially investigated by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, which turned its investigation over to the Detroit Police Department. DPD “found no criminal activity took place,” Worthy said.
The police department turned its findings over to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office on May 1 for an independent investigation. The office concluded on Aug. 17 its investigation, which included 70 interviews of inmates and Wayne County Jail staff, video footage from the jail as well as medical and autopsy reports.
“Our investigation shows that restraint and segregation of Mr. Akbar by officers at the Wayne County Jail was certainly warranted because he was acting out in a very dangerous and violent manner,” Worthy said Tuesday. “Although he sustained an injury on Oct. 23, 2014, scientific evidence shows there was no medical connection between the injury and Mr. Akbar’s death eight days later on Nov. 1, 2014. As a result, no criminal charges will be issued in this case.”
A personal representative for Akbar’s estate has a civil lawsuit pending in Wayne Circuit Court before Judge Kathleen McDonald regarding his death, Worthy said. Efforts to reach the attorney for the civil lawsuit were not successful.
Akbar’s family could not be reached immediately for comment.
Akbar was in jail after being found guilty by a jury Sept. 11 of entry without breaking with the intent to commit larceny in a case which involved illegally scrapping in a building, according to the press release. The crime carries up to five years in prison but the sentence was increased to up to life in prison due to Akbar’s status as a habitual fourth offender and his prior record, which included convictions for breaking and entering, controlled substances and aggravated assault.
Akbar was sentenced by Judge Megan Maher Brennan to nine months in jail and three years of probation with 133 days served. He was placed in the jail’s Division Three Pod F-I, a general population area. But Akbar, according to Worthy’s office, was identified as a “Red 6” because of his past and current treatment history for mental illness. He had a documented history of schizoaffective disorder and was being given psychotropic medication while in the jail. Staff described his mood and interaction with other staff was normal Oct. 23.
But Akbar’s mood began to change during the midnight shift when he complained to staff he missed breakfast because he overslept due to taking new medication, according to Worthy’s release. He was ordered to return to his cell and the staff member said she would contact the jail’s trustee to check to see if food was available.
Other inmates and staff said Akbar became violent and displayed uncontrollable behavior. He reportedly picked up a computer monitor and threw it before also tossing the computer’s hard drive off the desk. According to the release from the prosecutor’s office, Akbar became disruptive and then stood on tables in the inmates’ day area and threatened to jump from a railing in the area. An alert was called for deputies to subdue him and he was taken to a segregated area.
While Akbar was being taken to the segregated area, he was briefly dragged and his mandibular joint and the front of his chin were fractured, the release said. He was admitted to Detroit Receiving Hospital for complaints of a sore jaw and pain when opening his mouth. An examination showed no cuts or other injuries to his face or scalp. He was discharged and returned to the jail.
On Nov. 1, Akbar collapsed in his cell. He was taken to Detroit Receiving Hospital, where he was pronounced dead an hour later. The doctor found no signs of foul play or trauma, said the release.