60 year old Nestor Vasquez Jr., who was the victim of a violent assault at the hands of a prisoner inside a Queen Street Police Station cell, died on Saturday night at the Intensive Care Unit of the Karl Heusner Memorial hospital, as a result of severe head injuries he sustained.
Today the three officers who were manning the cell area at the time, Police Sergeant Shawn Walton, and Police Constables Edward Pitterson and Bernard Cayetano, were arraigned on charges and will be facing disciplinary charges as a result. We’ll have more on the actions taken by the Police, but first today the Vasquez family spoke out on the case.
The victim’s brother, Jules Vasquez, who is the News Director at 7News, hosted a press conference in which he discussed what the family knows about the incident.
Jules Vasquez, Brother
“My brother died at 9:40 Saturday night, he died of brain trauma, he was beaten mercilessly to his head and his faced was crushed and a post mortem resulted this morning that he died of blunt force trauma eventually he had more injuries below the neck, it was all concentrated on his neck which was literally disassembled he had been what happen is that his brain could not hold on more to his other organs anymore, his lungs shut down and his heart shut down and they had him on ventilator but I can only say that the best of the staff of the ICU they worked with extra ordinary precision and perseverance to keep my brother alive but in the end it failed.”
Vasquez also spoke on the circumstances that led to his brother’s Police arrest and eventual detention inside a cell along with a psychotic mental patient 30 years younger than the victim who had viciously assaulted a nurse earlier in the week. This put Vasquez, who was facing his own emotional distress in recent days, in direct harm’s way, the family believes.
Jules Vasquez, Brother
My brother had been having an acute episode, he is mentally ill and has been having an acute episode for about a week and he displayed certain behavior that wasn’t safe for our family and I had to ask the police to detain him on Monday because, regrettably, detention is the only way many mentally ill people can access the care they need to calm them down. And that’s what he got on Monday; they took him to the Port Loyola clinic where Nurse Elijio treated him. On Tuesday, Nurse Elijio would become a victim of the person who eventually gave the injuries that killed my brother. But the police then illegally kept him in custody. We agreed that they would keep him until Tuesday morning without charge. They then illegally kept him in custody for sixty-five hours without charge and released him on Thursday morning at which point they came to my office and again displayed behavior that it was not for the safety of everyone there. We felt that it wasn’t optimal for safety and I again had to ask police to come and pick him up for the same reason because being mentally ill in this country one cannot directly access the sort of compassionate care that is needed in that situation.”