Watch: Video of Natasha McKenna Incident
The Fairfax County Sheriff’s Office released video footage of six deputies trying to restrain a 130 lb. inmate who later died while in police custody.
Natasha McKenna called 911 in an emergency situation, but ended up being restrained and jailed for a prior warrant.
In the Feb. 3 video, deputies are seen trying to restrain the 37-year-old in a chair so she could be transported to another jail. According to a report released by the commonwealth’s attorney, the deputies, dressed in bio-hazard suits, thought she would hurt them.
Deputies can be heard telling McKenna to “stop resisting” and to “hold still” in the video. McKenna can be heard breathing heavy as deputies work to restrain her.
“You promised me you wouldn’t kill me. I didn’t do anything,” McKenna said as she exited the cell.
NBC reports that the death was ruled “accidental” by a medical examiner, and cited “excited delirium” as the cause of death associated with physical restraint, including the use of conducted energy device.
Officers used a Taser on Ms. McKenna four times. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were listed as contributing causes.
Fairfax County Sheriff Stacy Kincaid met Thursday afternoon with an attorney representing McKenna’s family. She offered her condolences to the family, along with an explanation of why she felt the need to release the video.
“There has been so much inaccurate information that was being put out, and it was important that we were able to show exactly both the professionalism and the restraint and the patience that the deputies demonstrated in trying to get Ms. McKenna treatment and back to Alexandria,” she said. “That’s where she needed to be.”
In light of the incident, Tasers are no longer being used at the jail. A member of the sheriff’s department has traveled to review programs designed to divert mentally ill offenders from jail into treatment.
Fairfax County launched a “Diversion First” task force meant to route more mentally ill offenders to other programs rather than locking them up. Sheriff’s deputies are also receiving Crisis Intervention Team training to help them better understand how to handle offenders who suffer from mental illness.
Watch the disturbing video below (Warning: this video contains graphic content).