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DA: No charges for officers in jail death

Officers involved in the death of a Clark County jail inmate last year will not face criminal charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

The ruling from the district attorney’s office came exactly one year after the death of Luis Solano, 38, who never recovered after being restrained by corrections officers on Feb. 25, 2013.

Solano, jailed on Feb. 21, 2013 on drug trafficking charges, died at University Medical Center after his three-minute struggle with four officers.

The coroner’s office ruled his death a homicide last year from complications of “positional asphyxia” from police restraint procedures. Positional asphyxia is a rare occurrence where a person falls, or is forced, into a position that restricts breathing and leads to suffocation.

The ruling was expected from prosecutors, who presented their case at a public fact-finding review last month.

“Officers were attempting to subdue Mr. Solano because he was causing a disruption in the corrections facility, creating a potentially dangerous situation for the officers and other inmates.” District Attorney Steve Wolfson said in a statement.

“A thorough investigation indicated that officers did not use excessive force in their efforts to restrain him.”

Las Vegas police said Solano was head of the family’s cocaine business. Metro police seized nearly $55,000 in cash, two pounds of cocaine and three ounces of marijuana from his apartment.

He had been moved to the medical unit for a mental evaluation the same day he fought officers. A psychiatric nurse found Solano was unaware of his surroundings, but cooperative, according to testimony last month from Las Vegas police Detective Jason McCarthy, who headed the criminal investigation into the incident.

The four officers involved in the struggle were placed on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

They are Sgt. David Aspiazu, 38, hired in 2001; corrections officer Bradley Temple, 44, hired in 2000; corrections officer Patrick Gray, 48, hired in 2003; and corrections officer Eugene Dixon, 49, hired in 2000.

All four returned to work last year, although only Temple returned to full-time duty.

Solano’s family hired a lawyer and are planning a civil lawsuit against Metro and the jail.

Contact reporter Mike Blasky at mblasky@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0283. Follow @blasky on Twitter.

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