Updated 04/25/2012 10:09 AM
2010 inmate death now being called homicide
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A state agency calls the 2010 death of an inmate at the Onondaga County Justice Center a homicide.
YNN obtained a copy of a report by the State Commission of Corrections, which was investigating the 2010 death of Raul Pinet.
The Commission said the homicide was caused by "asphyxia during restraint." The report says that the officers kneeled on his neck and back and improperly fit him for a mask to block spitting.
At the time of his death, the medical examiner's report showed cause of death as a cocaine-induced delirium, but also said that restraining Pinet in the facedown position contributed to his death.
The Onondaga County District Attorney says he has reviewed the state report and that his investigation will continue. He plans to meet with Pinet's family this week.
The director of the Central New York Civil Liberties Union says the members of the corrections department have failed to hold themselves accountable for the welfare of their inmates.
"Instead of taking the proper steps and assessing the prisoner's condition, they engaged in forcible restraint, kneeling on his neck, kneeling on his chest and then leaving him face down in a room when he was clearly unresponsive. That has to change," said Barrie Gewanter, NYCLU CNY Chapter Director.
No criminal charges have been filed.
The county attorney says he cannot comment on the case because it is pending litigation.