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Inmate Dies Two Days After Deputy Punched Him in Head

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Photo of George Rosales Courtesy of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
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An inmate at the jail downtown died suddenly in his cell on Thursday, after a deputy had punched him in the head, according to the Los Angeles Times. Whether or not that blow to the head caused the inmate's death is something that an autopsy will determine, but the incident hasn't done anything to dispel the cloud haning over the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.This revelation comes at a time when the FBI is investigating allegations of deputy abuse and misconduct in the jails. Yesterday, news broke that a rookie in the department quit after he said he was forced to beat a mentally disabled inmate. Times columnist Steve Lopez has called for Sheriff Lee Baca to step down.

The latest incident occurred Thursday. Inmate George Rosales, 18, had seemed fine in his cell during a check, but fifteen minutes later he was found unresponsive in his cell. He died on his way to the hospital. Michael Gennaco, who heads the Sheriff's department's watchdog agency, said that the role of a "force incident" two days earlier needs to be examined in the autopsy.

Sheriff's investigators haven't determined whether the blow to Rosales' head was kosher within departmental policy. The Times said that he had had been punched in the head when he tried to make a run for the elevator.

Rosales had been arrested for robbery on July 27, according to the department.