BREVARD COUNTY, FL - After a months-long legal fight, a judge ordered Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey to release jail surveillance video of the moments leading up to the in-custody death of an inmate.
Combat veteran Gregory Edwards, who according to his family suffered from PTSD, was arrested for assaulting a charity worker on December 10, 2018, and taken to the Brevard County jail.
The video shows Edwards baned on the cell windows and Deputy Brian Otto attempted to direct Edwards down a hall. When he refused and swung at the deputy, that led to a scuffle that moved to the ground, where it appears Edwards put the deputy in a chokehold. That’s when other deputies rushed in to get control of Edwards, using fist and knee strikes, pepper spray, and a taser.
“The only crime you see being committed in the video is by Edwards himself, as he violently engaged in a ground fight with Deputy Otto and actively resisted the lawful orders of our corrections officers,” said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey.
Several minutes later, deputies gained control of Edwards, strapped him to a chair, and placed a spit hood over his head. While waiting in his cell, a corrections nurse noticed Edwards having a medical episode, according to Sheriff Ivey. That’s when it appeared Edwards lost consciousness.
The medical examiner ruled the cause of death was “excited delirium.”
“The Medical Examiner, Brevard County State Attorney, the State of Florida’s Medical Examiner’s Commission and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement all concluded that Edwards's death was not the result of harm cause by members of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office,” said Ivey.
“To see today, finally, how his end came, we are filled with sadness, despair, anger, and regret,” said Dana Jackson, friend and neighbor of Edwards.
Friends of the family responded to the video.
“Sheriff Ivey is on Facebook right now, taking a victory lap over the release of the tape, because he believes it exonerates his corrections officers and his department, let’s be clear about this, it does not, it only proves beyond all doubt that his department believes PTSD victims are nothing but caged animals, as Ivey described Greg to the media,” said Jackson.
Jackson was a neighbor and a veteran herself. She is angry that he wasn’t given the help he needed.
“Why was Greg taken to a corrections facility, instead of a mental health treatment facility?” asked Jackson. “Why was he taken to a place for criminals, instead of a place for patients?”
Friends and family plan to continue fighting for justice and reform on law enforcement practices, to make sure this never happens to a veteran with PTSD again.
The Sheriff’s Office has posted the entire case file online for the public to see, click here to see it.