Posted by on Dec 3, 2015 in Featured

Yup’ik Native Dies in Police Custody

Yup’ik Native Dies in Police Custody

I don’t care, you could die right now and I don’t care.” those were the last words Joseph Murphy heard from prison staff shortly before he died.

On August 13th, Joseph Murphy, 49 (Yup’ik), died while in a holding cell in Juneau, Alaska according to a recently released report by the states Department of Corrections.

Joseph, an Iraq war veteran, was booked at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center on August 13th for intoxication and was placed into a holding cell.

According to the report, since he was intoxicated, Murphy should have been placed on 12-hour temporary protective custody and not jailed according to state law.

The following comes from the report:

At 0520 on August 14 Mr. Murphy is awake and no longer appears to be impaired. [Note that under Title 47, he is to be released when he is no longer incapacitated, or when 12 hours have elapsed, whichever is earlier.]

At 0552 Staff 1 stops by the cell as Mr. Murphy appears to be yelling. According to Staff 1, Mr. Murphy complained of chest pain.  Staff 1 claims to have offered to call emergency medical services and says Mr. Murphy declined.

At 0556 Staff 2 responded to Mr. Murphy banging his cell door and yelling. According to Staff 2, Mr. Murphy said he was having chest pains but showed no outward signs of distress. Staff 2 reports telling Mr. Murphy he would be out in an hour and if he needed emergency medical services, staff would gladly call.

At 0602 Staff 3 responded to Mr. Murphy banging his cell door and yelling. According to Staff 3, Mr. Murphy said he needed his pills but did not say what they were for. Staff 3 reports telling Mr. Murphy that his banging was agitating, and he should knock it off, suck it up, and he would be getting out soon.

At approximately the same time, Staff 4 reports hearing an inmate and Staff 3 yelling “f—you” at each other. Staff 4 reports hearing the inmate saying he needed medical care, and heard Staff 3 say, “I don’t care, you could die right now and I don’t care.” This was followed, according to Staff 4, by more “f—you’s.” Staff 4 later identified the inmate as Mr. Murphy.

At 0605 Mr. Murphy begins pacing the cell, periodically banging on the cell door. He appears to be sweating.

At 0608 Mr. Murphy gets on his hands and knees and periodically bangs on the door.

At 0612 Mr. Murphy stands, starts walking while patting his chest and periodically banging on the door.

At 0619 Mr. Murphy collapses on the floor and his body stiffens with legs in the air, then relaxes.

At 0631 Staff 2 delivers breakfast tray to Mr. Murphy’s cell and notices Mr. Murphy on the floor.

At 0634 Staff 3 enters the cell and places his hand on Mr. Murphy’s throat, apparently checking for a pulse.

At 0637 Staff 1 enters and begins chest compressions. Staff 2 enters and takes over after about one minute. Life-saving attempts continue.

At 0647 EMS arrives and takes over life-saving measures.

At 0719 EMS halts life-saving measures.

According to his obituary Murphy, who was born in Anchorage, in addition to being an Iraq vet was also a volunteer firefighter and ambulance attendant.

Joseph Murphy's Alaska National Guard unit in Iraq, 2005. Murphy is kneeling

Joseph Murphy’s Alaska National Guard unit in Iraq, 2005. Murphy is kneeling