Las Vegas police changes investigations of inmate deaths

Las Vegas police are changing the way they investigate the deaths of inmates at Clark County jails, the Metropolitan Police Department announced Monday.

The department’s Force Investigation Team will now investigate all in-custody deaths, even if the inmate had no contact with an officer, Las Vegas police said.

Previously, those cases were typically investigated by a unit at the jail, Las Vegas police spokeswoman Laura Meltzer said.

The Force Investigation Team is the same unit that investigates officer-involved shootings and all other use of force incidents within Metro.

The change is an effort to standardize the department’s internal investigations, Meltzer said.

On the same day as the announcement, police said the Force Investigation Team is looking into two separate inmate deaths that happened over the weekend.

On Saturday, a 61-year-old man collapsed in his cell at the Clark County Detention Center and died shortly after, according to police.

The following day at the North Valley Complex, located at 5900 N. Sloan Lane, a 57-year-old man was involved in an argument with other inmates. Officers handcuffed the man and escorted him out of the unit. The North Valley Complex also holds Clark County Detention Center inmates.

After leaving the unit, the man collapsed and was transported to North Vista Hospital where he later died, police said.

The Force Investigation Team will release a report of its findings on the department’s website at the conclusion of the investigation, police said.

The identities and causes of the death will be released by the Clark County coroner’s office.

Contact reporter Colton Lochhead at clochhead@reviewjournal or 702-383-4638. Follow him on Twitter: @ColtonLochhead.