Watch: Soldier's worsening respiratory distress before in-custody death

Sgt. James Brown died while in custody for a two-day DWI sentence; autopsy result cited natural causes by sickle cell crisis.


EL PASO, Texas — Video showing the final moments of Sgt. James Brown has been released, after his family sued the county for allegedly violating Brown’s constitutional rights.

KFOX TV reports that Brown, a Fort Bliss soldier, self-reported to the El Paso County Jail for a two-day DWI sentence.

According to Brown’s family, Brown informed jail staff that he had been diagnosed with PTSD. They claim that the jail violated the American with Disabilities Act and used excessive force.

Brown was taken to University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. A toxicology test showed no illegal drugs in his body.

An autopsy result cited natural causes by sickle cell crisis.

“Mr. Brown’s death was an unfortunate tragedy,” El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles said in a statement. “The sheriff’s office has conducted a thorough review of the facts surrounding Mr. Brown’s death and based upon all the evidence obtained determined that his death was caused by a pre-existing medical condition. The specific evidence cannot be discussed because of pending litigation.”

Brown’s family said that he had no history of ever having a sickle cell crisis incident in his life and is convinced the medical episode was triggered by his treatment at the jail. 

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