BOSTON, Ma. — A man diagnosed with schizophrenia died allegedly as a result of corrections officers restraining him after he punched one of them.
Joshua Messier was placed at Bridgewater State Hospital for an evaluation after punching a nurse at a former hospital, according to MyFoxBoston. Bridgewater State is run by the state prison system, and is home to the most violent mentally ill people in Massachusetts.
After slipping into an off-limits break room, Messier was confronted by an officer, who he punched. Other officers rushed in to help, restraining and subduing Messier.
While attempting to restrain him using a bed with a four-point restraint, an officer pushes down on Messier’s body, according to surveillance video. Ben Novotny, one of Messier’s attorneys, explains that the action causes Messier to suffocate.
In response, the officers defended their actions by saying that Messier was struggling and spitting during the restraining process. The officer who pushed Messier down “wanted to keep patient Messier in a seated position so he would not fall back an hurt himself while still handcuffed,” according to a State Police memo.
The Department of Corrections has declined to comment.