York solicitor finds no wrongdoing in restraint chair case

The York County Sheriff’s office was holding Joshua Grose in detention at the Moss Justice Center in October on charges that he murdered his mother and a neighbor woman -- running over her with her own car. Grose began banging his head against the cell wall and toilet when detention officers forced him into a restraint chair.

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by STUART WATSON / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @stuartwcnc

WCNC.com

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 14 at 6:13 AM

YORK COUNTY, N.C. -- The York County, S.C. solicitor, Kevin Brackett, has written to the State Law Enforcement Division that he found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in the death of a detainee, who was repeatedly punched by a detention officer before dying from suicide by beating his head repeatedly against the cell wall. 

Read the message here
 
The York County Sheriff’s office was holding Joshua Grose in detention at the Moss Justice Center in October on charges that he murdered his mother and a neighbor woman -- running over her with her own car. 
 
Grose began banging his head against the cell wall and toilet when detention officers forced him into a restraint chair. 
 
A 911 call from the jail summoned an ambulance after midnight saying that officers “had a subject resist ‘em and they had to deal with him.” 
 
The Piedmont Medical paramedics did not treat or transport Grose. 
 
The jail summoned the ambulance back within hours with an urgent call after Grose stopped breathing. 
 
But a whistleblower, detention officer Mike Billioni, tipped the NBC Charlotte I-Team that jail video showed one officer repeatedly punching Grose in the abdomen to get him to sit back in the chair. 
 
Sheriff Bruce Bryant fired Billioni, who is consulting an attorney, but did nothing to the officer who punched the inmate. 
The I-Team reported that another inmate, Jeffrey Waddell - also mentally ill - died in the same restraint chair in the same jail years earlier - drowning on his own vomit during a epileptic seizure. 
 
The state paid a 900-thousand dollar settlement in a civil lawsuit brought by Jeff Waddell's family. 
 
Now in the more recent cast of Joshua Grose the York prosecutor Kevin Brackett has ruled there was no criminal wrongdoing - officers were simply trying to subdue him. 
 
But the I-team found dozens deaths in restraint chairs across the country have triggered lawsuits. 
 
“Because of the mental health issues the impairment issues of the detainees there will be more deaths,” said Phoenix attorney Mike Manning, who has repeatedly sued jails over deaths in the restraint chairs. 
 
NBC Charlotte has filed a Freedom of Information request with York County for the video of Jeffrey Grose, which clearly shows the punches thrown, but the Sheriff has denied the request. 

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