Dallas County Sheriff declines to discuss jail lobby death video

The Dallas County Sheriff refused to answer questions on Friday about the newly released surveillance video of a man dying in the lobby of the county jail in early August.

Joseph Hutcheson, 49, ran into the lobby of the Lew Sterrett Justice Center asking for help because he thought his wife was trying to kill him. Witnesses said two deputies but their knees on his back and he screamed, “I can’t breathe.”

His family told FOX 4 they believe he was having a heart attack.

But sources tell FOX 4 the medical examiner will rule Hutcheson's death a homicide. Hutcheson is suspected of having meth amphetamine in his system and had an enlarged heart. He could have died as a result of “excited delirium” when he was agitated while being restrained.

The video has no audio, but it appears Hutcheson’s demeanor frightens several people sitting on a bench. Some leave the lobby, others point at him as if something is wrong and a deputy is seen approaching.

Hutcheson continues to walk around the lobby, sits down briefly, gets up again and walks away from the camera with four deputies before turning around and quickly hobbling away.

About a minute and a half after the first contact with deputies, a single officer tries to sit him down and control him. Seconds later two others join in to help subdue him.

Two minutes after the struggle -- Hutcheson goes limp.

The family was able to view the video Friday morning, a few hours before Sheriff Lupe Valdez briefly spoke to the media. They declined to comment to the media after watching the tape.

Dallas Sheriff's command staff watched the video in silence as it was shown to reporters on Friday afternoon and had little to say afterward.

"If you are in the video or recognize someone in the video and have not obtained your information please contact us,” Valdez said, adding that the investigation into the incident wasn’t over. “Because this is an ongoing investigation I will not be able to answer any questions at this time due to wanting not to prejudice or taint this investigation.”

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