Gallegos: No criminal conduct in Cotton death
Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos held a press conference Thursday to announce his investigation into the August 2007 death of Martin Frederick Cotton II is complete, and no criminal charges will be filed.
“There is no evidence — or certainly not evidence of a compelling nature that a crime was committed,” Gallegos said.
Though numerous witnesses were interviewed, due to the lack of evidence, “we simply could not bring a case to trial that would win,” Gallegos said, adding that unlawful use of force by the Eureka Police Department could not be proven...
,,,Upon arrival to the jail, he was too combative for a medical evaluation — a process that normally occurs prior to being booked into the facility, Nielsen said.
He was placed in a “sobering” cell which has an approximately one-quarter-inch thick rubber coating on the floor and on short wall that surrounds the toilet and sink. The cement walls are not coated.
Gallegos said that on a video from a motion-sensor camera that monitors the cell, Cotton was seen striking his head and body parts on the cell.
“He is very combative with himself, or what he may perceive as another person,” Gallegos said. “The padding would not necessarily prevent the sort of injuries that Mr. Cotton had.”
The video also showed correctional officers checking on him periodically, and reacting promptly when he was unresponsive.
The cause of the fatal injury to Cotton’s head — an acute subdural hematoma due to blunt force trauma — could not be pinpointed, Gallegos said.
NCJ Who Killed Martin Cotton?
Blogthing - Martin Cotton Redux
TS No charges coming in Cotton's death
Cotton's estate has filed a wrongful death and civil rights violation claim against the City of Eureka, the County of Humboldt, the Eureka Police Department and the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office as well as unidentified corrections officers.,,,
...Cotton's aunt, Lynda Rumburg, said she wasn't surprised by Gallegos' decision.
”I think he is a coward,” Rumburg said. “I think (Eureka Police Chief Garr) Nielsen is a coward. I think the sheriff is a coward. And, most of all, the officers that first responded, then the officers that were in jail and did nothing other than watch my nephew die a horrible, awful death are cowards.”
In this case, Madam, Gallegos has done the right thing, and the EPD officers who risk their lives going into a situation like this deserve thanks.