The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office has initiated a review of the June 13, 2014 in-custody death of Daren Borges, who died hours after being booked into the county jail by Eureka police officers.
Borges’ sister, Stephany Borges, filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit last week, alleging officers acted negligently in booking him into jail without first having screened at a local hospital despite his “obviously experiencing a medical and psychiatric emergency.”
Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming said Tuesday evening that, late last month, she received an email from Borges’ family asking her office to review his death. Fleming said she agreed, and has requested reports from all involved agencies, including the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, the Eureka Police Department and the coroner’s office.
The purpose of the review, Fleming said, is to determine if there’s any evidence of criminal conduct by anyone involved.
The protocol for county’s Critical Incident Response Team (CERT) — a multi-agency group called to investigate critical incident, including officer-involved fatalities — allows for the team to assembled to investigate in-custody deaths, but leaves discretion over whether to initiate the team response with the agency of jurisdiction. In Borges’ case, that would have been the sheriff’s office, which did not initiate a CERT response. Under the protocol, all CERT investigations are forwarded at their conclusion to the district attorney’s office for review.
Humboldt County Sheriff’s Lt. Wayne Hanson said typically in-custody deaths are investigated by the sheriff’s office and the coroner’s office, with the help of an investigator assigned from the DA’s office. Only in cases that appear suspicious or more complex would the office initiate CERT, Hanson said.
More information on Borges’ death and the lawsuit can be found here