Solicitor: Two Corrections Officers Disciplined Following Work-Release Inmate's Death
At the request of Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, the Erie County District Attorney's Office will now conduct an independent investigation into the death of the work release inmate, who died after suffering an asthma attack while on work duty.
In a news conference, Dahlkemper offered condolences to the family of 48-year-old Felix Manus.
"I am deeply saddened by Mr. Manus' passing," said Dahlkemper. "I cannot imagine the anguish and sadness being experienced by his family and friends."
On May 30, Manus suffered an asthma attack while cutting grass on work release duty in Edinboro.
He was hospitalized on life support at UPMC Hamot and died on Monday.
Family members say the corrections officers failed Manus by transporting him back to the work-release center in the city, instead of calling 911 for immediate treatment.
During the news conference, Dahlkemper deferred all questions about the case to Erie County Solicitor Rich Perhacs.
Perhacs confirms that two corrections officers have been disciplined in connection to Manus’ case.
However, Perhacs would not say exactly what that discipline entails.
"I'm not going to address that," said Perhacs. "There are provisions in the union contract that restrict our ability to make comment about specific disciplinary cases."
Due to the union contract agreement with the county, Perhacs would not release either officer’s identity.
Perhacs said that one of the officers has filed a grievance over the discipline.
According to Perhacs, as the incident involving Manus was unfolding, a nurse was contacted at the Erie County Prison, before he was transported back to the work-release center.
Perhacs also tells Erie News Now that there is a surveillance video from the center, which captured Manus as he was dropped off.
"We believe that video depicts events inconsistent with what's been described," said Perhacs. "So there are aspects of this that are not so clear."
An autopsy on Manus' body was conducted on Wednesday.
As of now, there has been no official ruling on his cause of death.