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Contra Costa sheriff, DA to investigate inmate’s in-custody death

MARTINEZ — Investigators are looking into the death of an inmate in a county jail housing unit, authorities said Tuesday.

According to a statement by a Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tuesday night, Antioch police arrested the inmate Sunday on suspicion of misdemeanor spousal battery.

After he was booked into jail, he tested positive for COVID-19, and was then housed alone in a module in order to quarantine. After county health services staff and mental-health staff, he was then cleared for incarceration.

At 1:22 p.m. Tuesday, deputies checked his room and saw that he was unresponsive.

After calling for medical assistance, firefighters and paramedics responded and began life-saving measures but the inmate was pronounced dead.An initial investigation found no signs of trauma or suspicious factors.

Investigators with the county sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices are looking into the death. The man’s identity was not released Tuesday night.

The sheriff’s office said a countywide fatal-incident protocol for in-custody deaths has been invoked, involving the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office and other law-enforcement agencies in a joint investigation.

Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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