In Custody Death Ruled ‘Accidental’

Kalamazoo’s Department of Public Safety (KDPS) has released an update on their investigation into the in-custody death of 57-year-old James Dunigan in May.

WWMT reports that Dunigan was transported by ambulance to Bronson emergency room after complaining about having chest pains. He was admitted at 2:13 a.m. for treatment, and was released at 4:29 a.m., police say.

But Dunigan allegedly refused to leave the hospital and was arrested just after 6 a.m. He was declared dead roughly 90 minutes later.

On June 2, KDPS closed its investigation and concluded that “there is a strong indication that Mr. Dunigan’s significant medical and personal history were the only factors involved in his death.”

At the time, the department also stressed that the final interpretation of the autopsy report would be in the hands of the Kalamazoo County Medical Examiners office.

The report, released Wednesday, stated that the cause of death for Mr. Dunigan was due to “hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and end stage renal disease complicated by acute intoxication by the combined effects of hydrocodone, diphenhydramine, ephedrine and gabapentin.

Two officers involved in Dunigan’s arrest were given a one-day suspension, for “a policy violation relative to prisoner medical attention,” KDPS said. Specifically, the department said “the officers should have recognized Mr. Dunigan’s condition and sought medical treatment.”

The Kalamazoo County Medical Control Authority will assist KDPS with an analysis of their training practices and department protocol going forward.

Photo: James Dunigan, KDPS mugshot