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Lawsuit blames Livingston County Sheriff's deputies for inmates death

February 01, 2019 11:29 PM

GENESEO, N.Y. (WHEC) -- The family of a Mount Morris man who died of a drug overdose while in custody in the Livingston County Jail blamed deputies for his death in a new federal lawsuit.

"They did fail him. They failed him on multiple tests," exclaimed Cassandra Brock whose boyfriend, Noel Colon, died of a fentanyl overdose. "It does not feel like it's getting any easier, him not being here. It feels like it's getting harder."

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According to the lawsuit, filed in federal court in Rochester on Thursday, deputies pulled Colon over in Mount Morris on Nov. 2, 2017 and arrested him on charges of driving under the influence of drugs. 

He was searched and locked up in the Livingston County Jail prior to arraignment. 

At the time, the lawsuit said, Colon admitted he'd been taking fentanyl.

"They should have red-flagged him," exclaimed attorney John Parrinello, who represented Cassandra Brock and Colon's daughter Mercedes. "They should've had constant watch on him." 

Instead, Parrinello said, the search of Colon somehow missed bags of fentanyl which Parrinello speculated Colon had hidden in his socks.  

He was discovered dead the following morning with four bags scattered around him. 

"The deputies did not do an adequate job with all of the indices of the fact that he was a drug user, in searching him and making sure he was safe," Parrinello said.

The lawsuit also took issue with the fact that an admitted drug user was not watched more closely while in custody. 

Papers filed with the federal court highlighted the Livingston County Sheriff's Office policy which says "At a minimum, the condition of a detainee in Central Booking shall be checked at a minimum of every thirty (30) minutes." 

"The policy provides for constant surveillance," declared Parrinello, "especially if you have somebody that has all the indications of a drug user, which he did that night."

"He just finished rehab two days before this," said Brock. "He was struggling. He was trying to do the right thing. But the temptation is always there."

Brock, herself a licensed practical nurse, declared it inconceivable that someone with a condition like Colon's would not be more closely monitored for life-threatening problems. 

"I mean, he told them he had a problem," she said. "They knew. They were aware. So they definitely should've watched him more, had maybe more medical attention for him."

The lawsuit targeted five named Livingston County deputies and several more unnamed deputies, identified as "John Does" and "Jane Does." 

The lawsuit accuses them of negligence, causing a wrongful death and violating Colon's rights.

Livingston County Sheriff Thomas Dougherty declined to comment on the case on previous instances because of the legal action.  

News10NBC reached out to him again on Friday, and to the Livingston County attorney, but neither responded.

Credits

Charles Molineaux

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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