Thursday, November 19, 2015

An Orange County inmate died after bites from a police dog became infected

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2015 at 6:13 AM

PHOTO VIA ORANGE COUNTY JAIL
  • Photo via Orange County Jail

Max Gracia, the 22-year-old inmate found dead at the Orange County jail in August, died after bites he received from an Orlando Police dog became infected, ultimately leading to septic shock.

The Ninth Judicial Circuit Medical Examiner's Office ruled Gracia's death a homicide in its autopsy report. 

Gracia was arrested by OPD after officials said he robbed a Circle K store on North John Young Parkway with a gun and took cash from the register. Police found Gracia after the robbery using a K-9, and Gracia fought the dog, which bit him multiple times on the left thigh and leg, according to an autopsy report. 

After the encounter, Gracia ran into Lake Mann and swam for two hours before he was arrested. He was charged on four counts, including robbery with a firearm and resisting an officer with violence. 

Four days later, officials found Gracia unresponsive in his jail cell, after complaints he was unable to get up from his bed. He was taken from the jail's medical unit to the Orlando Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. 

After Gracia's death, the Orange County Corrections Department and the Corrections Health Services Division quickly started a critical review and other internal investigations surrounding the inmate's care, custody and cause of death, says Corrections Department spokeswoman Carrie Proudfit in a statement.

"Since the launch of the internal review process, one registered nurse has resigned, while two other healthcare professionals remain under administrative review," Proudfit says.

A statement provided by OPD to the Orlando Sentinel says Gracia violently resisted efforts by officers to take him into custody. 

"OPD has completed an initial review of the incident, and it appears all officers acted within policy and the K-9 performed the job it was trained to do," the statement says. "The Department is conducting an internal investigation since the K-9 bite is listed as a contributing factor in Gracia's death."

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