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Wayne County Sheriff's deputy was choked, autopsy finds, with camera capturing fight

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Wayne County sheriff's deputy slain in jail last month while making his rounds of the lockup was choked to death, an autopsy found, and his assault was captured on surveillance cameras, according to records released by the county.

The autopsy of Cpl. Bryant Searcy notes that a surveillance captured the altercation between him and an inmate at about 10:15 p.m. Sept. 2.

About three minutes later, "video from another surveillance camera showed the suspect on top of the officer," an assistant medical examiner wrote.

The assistant listed the cause of Searcy's death as "asphyxia due to compression of neck and chest."

Cpl. Bryant Searcy

The Detroit News obtained the autopsy report through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Authorities have said Searcy was attacked while checking that cells were locked down on the fourth floor of the Wayne County Jail on Clinton in downtown Detroit.

An inmate, Deandre Williams, has been charged with first-degree murder, murdering a police officer and felony murder, according to the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

He also has been charged with unarmed robbery and escaping jail through violence. If convicted, he faces up to life in prison for the murder charge.

Deandre Williams

The postmortem examination found abrasions of his head and neck, the report stated. There also was evidence of "blunt force trauma and/or pressure applied to the mouth."

Other deputies found Searcy, who had worked with the Sheriff's Office since 2002, unresponsive. Medics took the corporal to a hospital, where the 50-year-old died.

Williams was being held on carjacking and weapons charges for a March incident in Detroit, according to county court records.

He also was charged with armed robbery and assaulting a police officer in connection with a Feb. 6 incident in Redford Township, court records show.

The Detroit resident had previously been imprisoned and was paroled in August 2019.