Family Believes Sheriff Officers Caused Son's Death

5:44 AM, May 9, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - The family attorney for Richard Metcalf, Jr. is responding with photos to the county sheriff who says deputies were not at fault for Metcalf's death in December of last year.

Metcalf, 35, died of a heart attack after being in the Erie County Holding Center. A medical examiner made the determination at the time, but experts still needed more information to classify his death.

This decision has now been made and it's been ruled a homicide.

Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard says that Metcalf brought on his own death through erratic behavior. Thomas Casey, the attorney and spokesperson for the Metcalf family has a different take.

"I believe his death was brought about because of the actions of the deputies that were responding to that cell that evening," said Casey.

The night began in Depew, with police there arresting the Casey on burglary charges. Officers say they couldn't get Metcalf under control, so they had to tase him. He was taken to ECMC for an evaluation and then went back to Depew, then to the County Holding Center.

Casey has released a new photo to 2 On Your Side that he says was taken of Metcalf when he was booked at the holding center. Metcalf appears to have some bruises, but no major injuries to his face.

But, after many hours in the holding cell, sheriff deputies say that Metcalf snapped and began spewing blood all over it while using a fork to cut himself.

Howard tells 2 On Your Side that officers couldn't allow Metcalf to hurt himself and that they had to subdue him, which resulted in a struggle between Metcalf and at least nine guards.

"The inmate was engaging in self-destructive behavior. Our staff responded to prevent that," said Howard on Tuesday.

But the Metcalf's disagree and think that the deputies beat him so badly that he ended up with a black eye, multiple facial injuries and bruises all over his body. Casey says Metcalf had three broken ribs and that an autopsy shows all the other injuries.

Casey tells 2 On Your Side that the family is devastated and want the truth to come out in their son's homicide case.

"This is how they remember their son," said Casey while holding up a gruesome photo of Metcalf, "this is what they have to live with everyday, the mom and the dad, they have been overwhelmed with emotion."

After the struggle, Metcalf was taken to Buffalo General and quickly transferred to ECMC, where he died.

In addition to injuring Metcalf, the family and their attorney suspect deputies didn't follow the right protocol during the struggle in the cell.

The sheriff told 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing Tuesday that nothing was done wrong by his staff.

Erie County's DA, Frank Sedita is re-examining the case and State Police are investigating whether charges should be brought.

The family still has a civil case against all the agencies involved, which include ECMC, Erie County and Depew Police.

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