HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The parents of a Harrisburg man who died while in custody at Dauphin County Prison are seeking over $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The lawsuit transferred to federal court Tuesday claims 21-year-old Ty’rique Riley died as the result of severe beatings inflicted upon him by correctional officers. The family claims Riley’s death could have been prevented if prison staff had been trained to recognize serious mental health issues and had moved Riley to a hospital or mental health facility.
The lawsuit initially was filed in Dauphin County Court.
Dauphin County Coroner Graham Hetrick said last year that Riley died of natural causes, specifically a brain inflammation consistent with cocaine use or infection. He said the condition may have altered Riley’s behavior and may have caused kidney failure.
District Attorney Fran Chardo has said Riley was arrested June 18 for assaulting his father with a sledgehammer. Because Riley was combative and seemed to have a mental health issue, he was placed on suicide watch.
About a week later, on June 26, it was determined Riley needed to be evaluated at an outside hospital. When prison staff tried to get him out of his clothes, Chardo said Riley became combative and was put into a restraint chair, then became unresponsive.
Riley died at a hospital on July 1.