Wake inmate died last month of head and neck injuries

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comJuly 19, 2013 

Shon McClain, who is on life support after an June 4 altercation with a Wake County detention officer.

WAKE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

— An autopsy report made public Friday by state medical examiners indicated a man held on misdemeanor charges at the Wake County jail last month died of blunt force trauma to the head and neck after an altercation with a detention officer.

The N.C. State Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy stated that Shon McClain, 40, suffered fatal head and neck injuries on June 4 when witnesses said he was thrown to the floor by a prison guard.

McClain was unconscious when he was admitted to WakeMed and died 13 days later, according to the autopsy report.

Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation have been reviewing the incident, but the Wake County District Attorney’s Office has not yet disclosed whether the detention officer, Markeith Council, will face criminal charges as a result of the incident.

County District Attorney Colon Willoughby could not be reached for comment Friday.

The medical examiner’s report in part corroborates claims made by McClain family attorney Jessie Jeffers about the inmate’s injuries. According to the autopsy report, McClain suffered a broken neck, spinal cord injuries and brain damage that included the swelling of blood vessels and hemorrhaging.

McClain was booked into the Wake County jail May 28 on misdemeanor charges for drinking alcohol in the bus depot at Moore Square in downtown Raleigh and failing to appear in court for possession of drug paraphernalia, state records show.

Jeffers’ request for an investigation into the incident contends that Council picked the inmate up twice and both times slammed his head on the facility’s concrete floor.

The contention was corroborated by two men who also were in custody at the time of the incident.

Braderick Peak and James Elvin Alston III both said McClain and Council exchanged words before Council knocked McClain on the floor. They said McClain threw a punch that never landed on Council, then the detention officer picked McClain up and slammed him to the floor and picked him up to repeat the action.

The autopsy report showed that McClain also had lacerations to his scalp and injuries to his upper spine in the neck area.

Capt. James Stevens, a spokesman with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, reported that Council also received minor injuries as a result of the confrontation, but was back at work on administrative duty shortly after recovering.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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