A Rio Arriba County Detention Center inmate was transported to an Albuquerque-area hospital over the weekend following a seizure, amid claims that jail guards failed to act quickly when the incident first occurred.
Details from the incident are scarce but Rio Arriba County Manager Tomas Campos said Tuesday someone had been taken to the hospital after having a seizure.
Michelle Mascareñas said Sunday she had heard about the incident from her son, who is currently incarcerated at the Detention Center and was one of the last people to see the victim before he was transported to the hospital.
“Last night apparently he held somebody in his arms dying because the guards wouldn’t come,” Mascareñas said. “He told me that (the inmates) banged on the door for like 25 minutes (trying to get a guard’s attention) and then they all got punished for it, for banging on the door.”
She said the man was in critical condition at the hospital.
Campos said the allegation about the delay in response is inaccurate.
“The ambulance was there right away,” Campos said. “The camera shows that it wasn’t even five minutes before the guards came and the ambulance.”
A public records request for video footage of the incident has been pending since Tuesday.
Campos said County officials were unsure what had triggered the man’s seizures, but as of Tuesday he was recovering well.
Access to medical care and treatment at the rural Detention Center has been in question for years, and has been a focus since three inmates died in the jail in December 2018.
Walter Stroop, of Ohkay Owingeh, died in the jail just minutes before he was set to be released December 2, 2018.
According to a notice of tort claim filed on behalf of his estate, Stroop was given inadequate medical care and contraindicated medications during his stay at the Detention Center, which may have led to his death.
Two other men, Aaron Baca and Michael Garcia, died in the jail the same week, from other causes.
SUN Staff Writer Amanda Martinez contributed to this report.
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