Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RI prosecutors: No charges over detainee death

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island prosecutors said Monday they would not bring any criminal charges in the cancer-related death of an immigration detainee at a detention facility where federal officials acknowledged the man was mistreated.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch said the state police investigation had focused primarily on whether Hiu Lui "Jason" Ng had been denied access to medical care before his death in August of late-stage liver cancer. He said Ng received medical attention, but troubling questions remain about the quality of care.

"The fact that no criminal charges will be filed should not be misinterpreted as an endorsement of the treatment that Mr. Ng received," Lynch said in a statement.

"As well as the physical pain he suffered, the erosion of the dignity to which he was entitled and the anxiety no doubt felt by his family are extremely troubling to me," he added.

Ng, 34, a Chinese immigrant and computer engineer detained for allegedly overstaying his visa, died at a hospital within weeks of arriving at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls. He was not diagnosed with cancer until shortly before his death.

A report issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement earlier this month concluded that Ng was mistreated at the privately run detention center, including being dragged by guards down the hall even though he had a doctor's note authorizing the use of a wheelchair.

The report also said guards once accused Ng of refusing medication when he couldn't walk to the door of his cell to receive it.

The agency pulled all 153 of its immigration detainees out of the facility last month as part of its investigation into Ng's death. It also terminated its contract with the center, which has punished seven workers - including firing some - who it said had broken the facility's policies and procedures.

The state police investigation began in September at the attorney general's request. The probe looked into whether any state laws had been broken and into whether Ng was denied access medical treatment before his death. But it did not evaluate the quality of the care, prosecutors said.

Wyatt said in a statement that it was gratified by the prosecutors' decision and was committed to caring for its detainees.



Post a Comment

<< Home