ARLINGTON, Texas - Three jailers will be fired by the Arlington Police Department following the death of an inmate in their custody.
Jonathan Paul was arrested in March after a traffic stop. He was restrained and pepper sprayed because of his erratic behavior, and then moved to another cell and left on the floor. He died four days later.
Two jailers, Steven Schmidt and Pedro Medina, were indicted on charges of negligent homicide. Documents state both caused his death "by physically restraining Paul in a position that interfered with his breathing.”
Schmidt has already retired and the police department has proposed firing Medina.
Police said detention officers Wes Allen and Matt Fisher should also be terminated because an administrative investigation found they didn’t tend to Paul’s emergency medical needs.
Their supervisor, Sgt. Frank Vacante, is facing a five-day suspension.
But, all of the jailers have the right to an appeal before anything is final.
Five other officers were cleared of any wrongdoing.
Luis Bartolomei is the attorney for Paul’s family. They've filed a suit against the City of Arlington.
“This disciplinary action took place only after the grand jury indicted two of them,” he said. “To me, it's more they're just reacting to the indictment."
Medina and Schmidt had their first court appearance before a trial date is set.
Because the fired jailers can still appeal their terminations, Arlington police aren't commenting on camera, but they have said before it was important to let the criminal investigation to go its course.
Police did release documents from their investigation that say in part, the restraint on Paul exceeded what was appropriate once he had stopped to resist.
"If that's truly what they believed, they should have done this back in March,” said Bartolomei. “They've had all the evidence in front of them. No reason to delay.”