Prison officials: Ty’rique Riley’s death not a cover-up


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Dauphin County Prison officials said Wednesday there is no cover-up in the death of Ty’rique Riley, a 21-year-old man who died in police custody July 1 after his arrest June 18, following an altercation in Susquehanna Township.

Director of Corrections Brian Clark said at an open house for friends and family of inmates that he remains committed to transparency and reforming prison operations.

“If something happens in this institution, we should look and say ‘hey, could we have handled this a little differently?’ You always have to be looking at that when you run this type of operation,” said Clark.

Riley’s death was brought up at the quarterly meeting when Elizabeth Hall – a Riley family friend and mother of an inmate – asked Clark and other prison officials about the ongoing investigation.

“What they did to him is torture,” said Hall. “Nobody’s been suspended, everybody’s coming and going to work.”

Hall referenced medical records that detail Riley’s condition when he arrived at the hospital on June 26 from prison.

The records show Riley had broken teeth, failing kidneys, bumps and bruises all over his body, and an inflamed airway that made intubating him difficult.

Riley was reportedly being transferred after several days of suicide watch and when the prison’s medical staff determined outside help was needed; officials said when prison guards were trying to transfer him, he became combative. He was soon placed in a restraint chair and became unresponsive, according to officials.

Hall believes a crime was committed at the hands of prison staff sometime between the decision to move Riley to an outside facility and his becoming unresponsive.

“We’re not gonna go anywhere, never ever are we going anywhere,” said Hall, adding, “until people who are in this jail, and clocking in and clocking out – are in this jail, having a door closed behind them.”

Clark said he is willing to make changes pending the results of the Riley investigation.

In addition to trauma-informed training and crisis intervention training for staff, Clark said he constantly works to address public concern and values any input he receives. These family and friends meetings are one way he encourages involvement.

“Take advantage of those things if you have concerns, don’t be afraid to voice those things to us because we will listen to you and take those things serious,” said Clark.

Sources tell abc27 News that Riley’s family is set to meet Thursday with Dauphin County Coroner, Graham Hetrick.

It’s been more than two months since Riley’s death and officials have still not released autopsy or toxicology reports, which would provide key details into how Riley died.

Stay with abc27 News as the investigation into Ty’rique Riley’s death continues to develop.

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