Summit County Jail deputies cleared of wrongdoing in July in-custody death
Ryan Summerlin September 4, 2013
No charges will be filed against Summit County Jail officers for the in-custody death of Zackary Dean Moffitt, the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
Moffitt, 33, of Leadville, was in custody July 9 at the Summit County Jail when he suffered an apparent cardiac arrest during a confrontation with detention deputies. Jail officials later reported Moffitt was exhibiting suicidal tendencies and officers confronted the inmate for his own safety.
Moffitt never regained consciousness and died four days later at a Denver-area hospital.
At the request of Summit County Sheriff John Minor, a formal review was conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, according to a joint sheriff’s office and district attorney’s office news release.
In a 400-page report delivered to the sheriff’s office and the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, CBI agents concluded Moffitt’s death was not the result of any wrongdoing by detention deputies or jail staff.
As a result of the report, the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office issued Monday a declination letter confirming they would not pursue charges in the matter.
“After a thorough review of the facts as collected through CBI’s investigation, we have determined there was no wrongdoing by any personnel at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office,” said District Attorney Bruce Brown, in the release. “Sheriff’s personnel acted swiftly to address an emergent medical situation and used every available measure to rescue inmate Moffitt.”
Although the DA’s office does not typically issue declination letters for cases in which charges are not filed, in this instance it was determined that it was appropriate due to the nature of the incident, the release stated.
“We want to be as forthcoming as possible so that the public understands how and why this decision was made,” said Minor in the release. “As with any serious incident in our facility, our standard procedure is to request an impartial third party review.
“The results of this investigation support our initial assessment that our staff did everything they possibly could to save Mr. Moffitt’s life.”
As part of the Sheriff’s Office review process, an internal affairs investigation has also been conducted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, according to the release.
Moffitt was being held in the Summit County Jail on an outstanding warrant and for violation of a civil protection order. Both charges originated in Lake County.
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