The father of a drug suspect who died of an apparent cocaine overdose while in Leesburg police custody has demanded an investigation of the arrest, saying the police should have taken his son to a hospital instead of jail.
Darryl Jackson, 23, of Reston, was arrested Oct. 8 in Leesburg for allegedly selling crack and was taken to the Loudoun County jail.
Less than an hour later, he was found unconscious in his cell and taken to Loudoun Hospital Center, where he died Oct. 16. He was buried in Sterling on Wednesday.
Jackson's father, Kenneth Scott, of Herndon, said his son died because police disregarded department policies and took Jackson to the jail, even though police say they saw him chewing crack cocaine.
The police arrest procedure directs officers to provide medical care to any prisoner who requests help or needs it, before the prisoner is taken to the jail, according to a department policy manual.
"He was swallowing it and they saw him swallowing it and they still didn't follow their procedures," said Scott, of Herndon.
Steven Garver, the attorney for Jackson's family, said that even if Jackson was dealing crack, Leesburg police had a responsibility to protect him from harm. "Instead, they took him to jail," he said. "That's outrageous."
Leesburg police said the case was handled properly and would not be investigated. Police said Jackson died of an apparent cocaine overdose. Autopsy results are expected to be available next week.
Leesburg Police Chief James Kidwell said the senior arresting officer, Capt. Michael McVeigh, followed department procedures. He said Jackson showed no signs of needing medical care and did not ask for any. Kidwell, who refused to release details about Jackson, said no investigation is needed.
McVeigh said he had Jackson taken to jail after police removed a quantity of crack from Jackson's mouth at Leesburg's Plaza Street Park, and after Jackson twice denied swallowing crack. McVeigh said Jackson punched an officer during the arrest and was agitated after he was taken into custody.
Loudoun Sheriff John Isom said he has conducted an investigation of what occurred at the jail, where Jackson had seizures and lost consciousness. But he considers the inquiry an internal matter and refuses to discuss the case, said Deputy Carol Showalter, a spokeswoman.
Kent Willis, director of the Virginia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, urged police to release more details about why Jackson was sent to jail. "The less open a police department is, the more suspicious the public should be," he said.