San Bernardino County Sheriff

By Brian Rokos, The Press-Enterprise
and Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 04/12/16 – 9:15 PM PDT |

In the last year, a dozen people have died after being admitted into San Bernardino County jails, with more than half those deaths occurring in the last four months.

Since January, seven people have died in county jails — more than all the in-custody deaths that occurred in 2015. Four of those deaths are attributed to pre-existing medical conditions and one a suicide by hanging. The causes of death for two other inmates have yet to be determined, but homicide and suicide have been ruled out, said sheriff’s Lt. Brad Toms.

Of 2015’s five deaths, three were suicides, one was a homicide and one a medical-related death, according to the sheriff’s department.

“I think that’s an alarming number,” said Dale Galipo, a Woodland Hills attorney who specializes in civil rights and wrongful death cases involving law enforcement, many of them originating in the Inland Empire.

“I don’t know all the details, but I think the people in charge of these jails should be concerned and look into the details of each case, what happened and what went wrong and what steps they could take to prevent these deaths from happening in the future,” Galipo said.

The latest death occurred Sunday, when 32-year-old Riverside resident Cleveland Burris was found unresponsive in his single-man cell at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga at 7:52 a.m. He was taken to Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 8:47 a.m., authorities said.

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