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Magistrate in police custody death inquest delays summation

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: May 03, 2013

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The magistrate presiding over the inquest into the death of a man in custody delayed her summation to the jury yesterday.

Coroner Jeanine Weech Gomez was scheduled to direct the five-member jury on their possible findings in relation to the death of Aaron Rolle, who died on February 9 at the Southern Police Station.

Weech-Gomez said she will now sum up the evidence on Tuesday.

Rolle, 20, died from a ruptured intestine caused by blunt force trauma after he had been in custody for more than 48 hours.

A pathologist testified that Rolle could have lived up to 24 hours with the injury and should have experienced acute abdominal pain that would have worsened with time.

However, all of the officers who had contact with Rolle up to his death on February 9 claimed he was fine and had no complaints.

Two constables – 2120 Akiel Smith and 2468 Carl Smith – said they had to forcefully restrain Rolle on February 8 when he allegedly tried to flee through an open window on the second floor of the station.

Carl Smith said that the window was a push up one with no other obstructions.  However, when the court visited the building, which had not undergone any renovations from the time of the alleged escape attempt, there were narrow aluminum panels barricading the window.

The purpose of the inquest is to determine the circumstances of Rolle’s death, not to determine criminal or civil liability.

Christina Galanos represents Rolle’s family.  Lennox Coleby appears for the officers and prosecutor Ambrose Armbrister marshalled the evidence.

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