Family of Dallas County jail lobby death victim wants federal investigation

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The family of a man who died in the Dallas County jail lobby called for a federal investigation into the incident on Monday and said the officer who restrained him should be fired.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner officially ruled Joseph Hutcheson's death a homicide on Monday, with contributing factors including drugs and stress to his body associated with the struggle and being restrained.

The 48-year-old's death was caused by the combined toxic effects of cocaine and methamphetamine, compounded by heart problems due to high blood pressure and the stress associated with struggle and restraint.

Surveillance video from the lobby shows the man acting erratically before being subdued by deputies and losing consciousness Aug. 1.

Deputies had said they restrained Hutcheson because he posed a threat to himself and others, but others disagreed.

"The Dallas County Sheriff's Department acted like this was the World Wrestling Federation. He was slammed to the ground as we've seen from the videotape," said Jeff Hood, a member of Hope For Peace and Justice said.

Hutcheson's family on Monday afternoon said Dallas County officials had acted improperly and asked the Justice Department to conduct an independent investigation into the death.

"Nothing that he did deserved that. You see the deputy clearly after he gets up off his neck. He rose up, and then goes back down and gets him again. And that was the final blow to my brother. That's the blow that crushed his throat. That's why this is a homicide,” said James Hutcheson, the brother of Joseph.

Legal experts have pointed out repeatedly that a ruling of homicide by the medical examiner does not necessarily indicate a crime was committed.

Sheriff Lupe Valdez said last Friday her department is conducting an internal investigation of how the arrest was handled.

Dallas police said they are not involved in the investigation.