CMHIP withholds data requested by the district attorney and county coroner
An obese man who died in the custody of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) suffocated while being restrained face down on a table. He may have been hog-tied.
Troy Allen Geske, 41, died August 10 at the psychiatric institution. An affidavit for a search warrant says that Geske died after he was put in four-point restraint, in which the feet are attached to the hands behind the back.
A spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services, which oversees the psychiatric facility, denied Geske was in four-point restraint. But Pueblo County District Attorney Bill Thiebaut said the information in the affidavit is corroborated by evidence that has been collected, including video of Geske in restraints, according to the Pueblo Chieftain:
At 5-feet-8 and 265 pounds, Geske was at greater risk of “positional asphyxiation” when he was restrained on his stomach with his own weight pressing down on his lungs and diaphragm. Federal law requires constant, close monitoring of anyone face down in restraints to prevent suffocation.
The results of an autopsy and toxicology tests have not yet been released.
After Geske’s death, hospital police could have called in the 10th Judicial District’s critical incident team (CIT) for an independent investigation of the incident by a team of investigators from outside law enforcement agencies, but did not do so, according to the Pueblo Chieftain: http://chieftain.com/news/local/article_b4e5d92e-b7f1-11df-abf2-001cc4c002e0.html
The CIT investigates serious incidents involving police officers under an agreement to which CMHIP is a party. Hospital police were reportedly present when staff attempted to revive Geske.
CMHIP has also refused to turn over certain information requested by investigators. District Attorney Thiebaut says he will go to court if necessary to get information he believes his office is entitled to, according to the Chieftain.
For more than 40 years, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights has advocated against any form of psychiatric treatment that is torturous, cruel, inhuman or degrading, as laid out in its Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights.