Editor’s Note: The below video could be considered shocking or disturbing to the viewer. Viewer discretion is advised.
Video released Wednesday morning by Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran shows guards and command staff standing around and not giving CPR to Edward Robinson while he was dying last month.
Sheriff Mark Curran released the video and said at the press conference Wednesday morning that the video disturbed and upset him.
“There’s dignity in all human beings. That’s why the video was upsetting to me, as an individual is laying on the ground and quite frankly, I didn’t think there was the rush I would have hoped in applying CPR,” Curran said.
Edward Robinson III, 32, of Park City, was in a third floor jail cell of the maximum security unit at the Lake County Jail on September 19. Around 6 a.m., while jail staff were delivering breakfast, they found Robinson lethargic and had difficulty communicating.
Medical staff at the jail was called but they did not respond to evaluate him. At 9:17 a.m., staff were doing daily medical rounds on the inmates and found Robinson in the same condition as before.
At 11:08 a.m., two corrections officers went to deliver lunch to Robinson and they found him in the same condition as before so they called in the medical emergency.
In the video, corrections officers and command officers can be seen standing around while Robinson lays unresponsive. Then over five minutes later a medical staff member arrives and can be seen performing CPR on the man.
Paramedics arrived and transported the man to Vista East Medical Center in Waukegan where he was pronounced dead.
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran had made several staff changes after he first saw the video. Deputy Chief Ted Uchiek was demoted to lieutenant, Correctional Chief Dave Wathen was demoted to deputy chief and Deputy Chief Bill Kinville was promoted to interim chief.
Curran also said that a jail sergeant and lieutenant, who were not named, were placed on administrative leave.
Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said that an autopsy showed that Robinson had no signs of trauma. A cause of death is still unknown.
Robinson’s mother was initially told that her son killed himself. The Lake County Coroner’s Office reiterated that the death was not believed to be a suicide. “The cause of death cannot be determined at this time. Further testing is being done, as well as, toxicology,” Dr. Cooper added.
Robinson was brought to the Lake County Jail on July 17 on felony burglary charges. He had been in the jail for 64 days.
Robinson was in the maximum security part of the jail, which holds one inmate in each jail cell, because he had been disruptive and threatening towards other inmates, the sheriff’s office said.
In August, a Lake County judge found Robinson unfit to stand trial on his charges. He was ordered to be held in the jail until the Illinois Department of Human Services could determine the appropriate action to take.
The Lake County Major Crime Task Force continues to investigate the death and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Standards is conducting an internal investigation.
The problem with video surveillance is in most cases where footage is needed to “paint a picture” a camera is not permitted. (EMS vehicles, jail cells,etc.). I applaud Officer Masar in his radio action to alert medical about the unresponsive inmate, along with his co-hort “Officer Shorty.” The issue that the media is avoiding that concerns me is why did the nurse, who has a history of passing out medication reeking of cigarettes, take a fortnight to respond. Despite the knowledge and know-how of the morbidly obese ranking officer to remove the inmates tray, the fact is officers aren’t trained medical personnel. Even backup consisting of Officer Merlak, Harman ,Gotsen shouldn’t have to risk their careers by coming in contact with the accused. A “jailhouse grievance” about 3 years ago was filed against Officer Gotsen,citing sexual harassment against a male inmate. One thing is certain, medical care in society from either side of the glass needs rehabilitation. I remember Robinson; held a conversation in his cell with a hand gestured cell phone and came out handing his commissary rations out, stating his bond was posted. Other inmates gladly accepted the items while snickering about the “goofy.” What a sad world we live in…
Brian Prosise I would keep your 2 cents where they should be kept. I was a woman who was on phy medication on suicidal watch and every green uniform officer in this video would not listen to me. I sat in a green suit naked under neath as I have PTSD from being sexually assaulted. They walked by me and laughed. I hate thinking about this though one Sergeant only one was kind. The other pretended not to hear my cry’s for help. The nurse that was there was an Asian he man. I told him he wouldn’t be happy until he was charged with murder as I sat there wanting to die. The only person that I can say in this video who deserves credit is the nurse. I know her from Lake County. She works on conditions of 900 inmates with one other nurse. Medication has to be passed and we can’t even talk to the nurse. You want to talk to me I will tell you. Also PARA is in at the jail. The women have no men on the PODS.
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