Report: Inmate described as 'combative’ before death at Pima County Jail

Report: Inmate described as 'combative’ before death at Pima County Jail
Francisco Ruiz died after a use-of-force encounter with corrections officers at the Pima County's minimum security facility. (Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Pima County Sheriff’s Department said inmate Francisco Ruiz died following a “use-of-force” encounter around 9:25 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14. In a report, officials described the man as “combative” during the incident.

Ruiz was brought to the Pima County Adult Detention Center on Nov. 13 and transported to Minimum Security Facility on the same day, according to an incident report.

Corrections staff said Ruiz was “observed acting strangely” on Nov. 14. When staff attempted to remove him from the dorm for evaluation, “he became combative.”

The report states Ruiz was handcuffed and shackled and taken to medical unit for evaluation, where he again became combative. The inmate was placed in a restraint chair and that is when staff noticed he was unresponsive.

Another deputy stated he “heard a commotion” that “sounded like a struggle” while working night court. That deputy said he looked down a hallway and saw “four or five corrections officers attempting to subdue an inmate who appeared to become irate.”

“I heard yelling,” the deputy wrote in the report.

Security video, a cell phone and the data downloaded from the phone, as well as a “taser report download” were logged into evidence, according to the evidence information included in the report. There is no mention of a taser being used or deployed during the incident.

KOLD News 13 requested surveillance video of the incident. PCSD said no video was authorized for release at this time.

Corrections officers may use one of several actions during a “use-of-force” encounter, according to PCSD, including:

- Verbal communication

- Pain compliance an/or pepper spray

- Soft, empty hand control techniques, which would be something like a grab or hold.

- Hard technique, which could be a punch or a kick to restrain someone.

Ruiz’s death is being investigated by the department’s Criminal Investigations Division.

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