Racine County sheriff releases video clip from night of man's death in custody

NOW: Racine County sheriff releases video clip from night of man’s death in custody


RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling has released a portion of video from the night an inmate died at the county jail earlier this month.

Warning: This video may be troubling to watch for some viewers.

Twenty-seven-year-old Malcolm James was arrested May 29. 

The sheriff's office says he was on suicide watch because of a previous attempt to harm himself.

According to the jail, staff tried to stop James from hurting himself before a medical event led to him becoming unresponsive on June 1.

The sheriff says he released the video to try to end misinformation spreading on social media that jail staff attacked and beat James, leading to his death.

"In order to protect the integrity of these investigations, I have said I would not release any specific information concerning the facts of either of the cases until the investigations are concluded," Schmaling says. "However, given the continued advancement of serious misinformation and completely inaccurate statements, I must now balance the interest of protecting the integrity of the investigations against releasing limited information so the public has the facts."

The family attorney ordered an independent autopsy. He says it shows no head injuries and that James was beaten and tasered to death. 

"He had a number of abrasions going in various areas of the body," Kevin O' Connor said. "He had taser marks all over his chest, down his right leg, his left leg, on the back of his leg, on his back, with burn and taser marks.

In the video, Sheriff Schmaling responds to the taser allegations. 

"Mr. James violently fought with jail staff and they had to use some use of physical force to secure him for medical treatment. While it is true a taser was used, the statements made about tasers causing death are completely false." 

James' mom, Sherry James, says there's no question her son was murdered based on the independent autopsy. 

"I didn't see my son committing suicide, I saw my son being frustrated."

O'Connor says the department claimed his death was self-inflicted, but he says it's not true. 

"He only had one injury to his face and it was a two-centimeter laceration to the lip, which looks like someone was being punched or hit in the face. Nothing to the front of head or nothing to the back of his head."

The original autopsy will not be released until the toxicology report comes back. 

James was one of two inmates who died in custody at the Racine County jail just days apart earlier this month.

The video can be viewed below:

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