Deputies use a WRAP restraint on Dujuan Armstrong that caused his death in Santa Rita Jail. Alameda County Sheriff's Office video still.

Alameda County Sheriff releases body camera video of death by restraints last year

After more than a year of delays, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday released body camera videos of the in-custody death of Dujuan Armstrong last year.

The videos are well short of the total of 66 body camera videos reviewed by the district attorney’s office when deciding whether to file any criminal charges against the jail staff. The investigation lasted a year and the district attorney’s office declined to file charges in June.

The videos released on Wednesday largely confirm the district attorney’s account released in the report announcing the charging decision.

Armstrong, who was sentenced to serve only weekends in jail, exhibited increasingly bizarre behavior throughout the day after he was booked on June 23, 2018.

Eventually, deputies decided to take him to an outpatient housing unit for medical evaluation. On the way there, he attempted to pull away from the deputies, who took him to the ground.

After a prolonged struggle he was placed in a restraint device called the WRAP and a spit hood. An autopsy found that the restraints, which enveloped his whole body and cinched him into a seated position, compressed his stomach and asphyxiated him.

The videos released Wednesday include two vantages of the struggle with deputies. Deputy Joshua Plosser was one of the deputies escorting Armstrong to the cell and took him to the ground when he resisted.

“You’re gonna get dumped,” Plosser told him several times before he knocked Armstrong to the floor. While on the ground, Deputy Eduardo Rivera-Velasquez punched him and Deputy Kevin Calhoun kneed him.

Another video from Deputy Josephine Costanzo also shows the struggle. Costanzo was one of several deputies who put ankle restraints on Armstrong as he was flailing on the floor.

Both videos show Armstrong then wheeled on a gurney while in the WRAP restraint to the outpatient housing unit. Once there, deputies ask a nurse to check his vitals and realize he doesn’t have a pulse.

The two other videos show some of Armstrong’s behavior before he was taken for medical treatment. A video from Deputy Khalif Hoodye shows Armstrong shortly after intake saying he had taken drugs. At the time he appears disoriented.

Another video from Deputy Briana Eastus shows Armstrong extremely disoriented as a nurse attempts to take his vitals through a cuffing port in a cell door. Armstrong is glassy eyed and doesn’t appear to understand what he’s being told when the nurse asks him to hold out his finger.

The sheriff’s office withheld the videos despite a campaign last year for greater transparency in Armstrong’s death. Armstrong’s mother, Barbara Doss, confronted Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern in Sacramento asking for answers. The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights has also pushed the sheriff’s office to release video of the incident.