Polk County, Florida — An inmate at a Florida county jail has died after an altercation with detention deputies. Eric Nelson was arrested last week by the Lakeland Police Department after he was found with a baggie of methamphetamine and syringes. Nelson told the officers that he uses the needles to, “shoot meth.” He was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia according to The CW34.
While Nelson was transported to the Sheriff’s Processing Center, he became agitated and began cursing at the jail and nursing staff. He told staff that he, “hadn’t slept in five days.” Medical staff noted that he appeared to be under the influence of illegal narcotics.
Nelson was placed into a private holding cell, but authorities said that he became angry and began to kick the cell door and threatened to harm deputies and other inmates. His violent behavior caused him to be placed on suicide watch. Nelson was placed in a medical dorm, until he was transferred to South County Jail in Frostproof.
Once arriving at the medical dorm, Nelson began striking a Polk County Detention Deputy.
Three deputies were in the room with Nelson and struggled to get Nelson under control.
Officials said that more deputies entered the room to apprehend Nelson. After multiple attempts, deputies managed to subdue Nelson in handcuffs and shackles. Nelson continued to struggle, but he was carried by four deputies to his cell.
Once at his private cell, deputies said Nelson wasn’t breathing and his face was changing color. The jail and medical staff immediately retrieved an AED and began CPR. He was brought to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The sheriff’s office said Nelson had an extensive arrest record, totaling 16 total criminal charges, including 12 felonies and four misdemeanors, and five felony convictions. His prior criminal charges include rape, battery on a law enforcement officer, resisting arrest with violence, failure of sex offender to report name or residence change, use of false info to obtain an ID, fugitive from justice, grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, possession of heroin with intent to sell, and drug possession.
The cause of death is still being determined and four investigations are underway.