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Family Of A Man Who Died While In The Coconino County Detention Center In 2022 Files A Federal Civil Lawsuit

The family of an inmate who died in a cell at the Coconino County Detention Facility in April of 2022 has filed a federal civil lawsuit against Coconino County, Navajo County and 24 other defendants. The suit claims 53-year-old Gibson Benally of Chinle was denied emergency medical care multiple times, once in the Navajo County Jail and again in the Coconino County Detention Facility, which are civil rights violations. After being arrested and taken to the Navajo County Jail on March 4th, 2022, Benally informed nurses that he suffered from back pain and high blood pressure, which he was taking medications for. The lawsuit claims his prescriptions were not filled for several days and once they were filled, medications were given sporadically. He was transferred to Coconino County Detention Facility on March 24th. On April 17th, Benally told staff that he was out of breath and dizzy. These conditions continued into the next day, where nurses put a wet washcloth on his head. His vitals went down, but an hour later, a guard found Benally unresponsive. Authorities say CPR and life-saving measures were performed until Flagstaff Fire Department and Guardian Medical Transport could take over. Benally was pronounced dead at 6:39 p.m. from a pulmonary embolism, according to his autopsy. The Coconino County Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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