Lake County Jail Release Video Of Officers Responding To Unresponsive Detainee

Bernie Tafoya
October 03, 2018 - 1:04 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- In the northern suburbs, the Lake County sheriff made public Wednesday jailhouse security video showing the response by corrections officers to a detainee who was unresponsive and later died.  

From corrections officers seeing 32-year-old Edward Robinson unresponsive in his cell Sept. 19, to a medical team from a private contractor response when told of Robinson’s condition, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran was disappointed when he watched the video.

"There’s dignity in all human life. Mr. Robinson’s life had a lot of people that are concerned about him and loved him and would want everything done that could be done to save his life, so was it done in this instance? I don’t think so," he said.

Still, the sheriff said he does not believe Robinson's life could have been saved had corrections officers acted with more urgency. He said AED was used and that Robinson was alive when he was taken to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan, where he died.

Sheriff Curran said his officers normally act quickly. In in the last five years, corrections officers have thwarted 170 suicide attempts and over 250 incidents in which detainees have tried to hurt themselves.

Curran said he met with Robinson's family, including Robinson's mother, to give them the video and offer his condolences.

WBBM Newsradio/Bernie Tafoya

The lieutenant and sergeant in charge of the jail pod where Robinson's cell was have been on administrative leave while non-criminal investigations are being conducted. Curran said investigations are also looking into the role of jail medical personnel who work for an outside contractor, Armor.

Sheriff Curran said Edward Robinson had been in the jail on a trespassing charge and that, even though he was ruled unfit to stand trial, Robinson was still in the jail awaiting placement to some kind of home or treatment facility.

Curran said Robinson had a mental illness for which he was taking medicine.

The sheriff said county jails are no place to house the mentally ill. He said Robinson was not a dangerous person, "just a person who struggled with mental illness." He called it a "sad statement" on the state of the justice system.

Sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said there is body camera video of the corrections officers response but, in the interest of Edward Robinson's privacy, Covelli said that video is not being made public.