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A jury ruled on Thursday that the death of a man in Round Lake Beach police custody in June was accidental and caused by the man choking on a baggie of drugs.
Abel Rosiles Jr., 21, of Round Lake, died on June 18 from anoxic encephalopathy by choking on a plastic bag, a jury ruled on Thursday. They ruled his death an accident.
Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said that his office summons jury inquests in all cases for officers involved in in-custody deaths.
An inquest is not a civil nor criminal trial, instead, it is an inquiry into the manner and cause of a person’s death, Cooper said.
Bodycam videos, other video evidence, photos and reports were turned over to the jury, who were able to ask questions to people and officers testifying.
The Lake County Coroner’s Office sent the results of the inquest to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office, who will review them.
Rosiles was taken into custody around 11 p.m. June 10 at Thornton’s gas station, 180 East Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, after officers were called there for a report of a disturbance.
Police said that an employee at the gas station pushed the panic button because a man was inside the store shouting and threatening him.
The employee called 911 earlier in the evening for the same issue but the suspect fled before police arrived.
The suspect, identified as Rosiles, was located walking out of the public restroom when officers arrived the second time. Rosiles was taken into custody for disorderly conduct without incident.
“As an officer was walking the offender to a squad car, he was able to get away, and he fled on foot approximately 30 feet. The arresting officer was able to take him back into custody and walked him back to the squad car which was parked at Thornton’s,” the Round Lake Beach Police Department said in a statement at the time.
Police officials said that officers at the scene noticed Rosiles was having trouble breathing. They asked the man if he was choking and he nodded that he was.
The Heimlich maneuver was attempted without success and the man lost consciousness. The officers tried to clear the man’s airway but did not see anything in the back of his throat.
Police released 13 videos showing the incident aftermath.
In one of the videos, numerous officers can be seen assisting Rosiles, who appeared to be unconscious, to the ground and removing his handcuffs.
The officers began providing first aid to the man, including administrating several doses of Narcan.
“He had something in his sock [that he] swallowed, don’t know what it is,” one of the officers told arriving paramedics, who can be seen in the video starting CPR on Rosiles.
Shelby R. Brubaker, 21, of Round Lake, was taken into custody after she began yelling and interfering with the arrest of Rosiles, police said.
Paramedics used a medical tool and extracted a large plastic baggie containing a white powder substance from deep inside Rosiles’ throat, police said. The powder substance later field-tested positive for cocaine.
Rosiles was transported by ambulance to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville in critical condition. Doctors said he had no brain activity and was on life support.
Rosiles died on June 18 and an autopsy was conducted later that afternoon, according to Cooper.
Family members of Rosiles claimed that police brutally beat him and caused bodily harm while he was handcuffed.
“Police officers should not be allowed to be above the law especially when they commit violent crimes against young Latino men for no reason. Abel Rosiles was assaulted while handcuffed. We want Justice for Abel!” Pastor Julie Contreras of Our Lady of Suyapa Sanctuary LUMC said in a statement.
“There is no evidence to believe he was beaten to death,” Cooper told Lake and McHenry County Scanner in June.