Medical examiner says meth, diabetes, restraint contributed to prisoner's death

SPOKANE, Wash. - The medical examiner's office confirmed the death of a man in the Spokane County Jail in February was due to methamphetamine toxicity combined with psychological effects of him being restrained.

Due to the effects of the methamphetamine toxicity, coupled with being restrained by jail personnel and an existing diabetes condition, the medical examiner classified Christopher Parker's manner of death as homicide.

Parker, 33, died while in custody at the Spokane County Jail on Feb. 24. Earlier in the day Parker was suffering an apparent drug overdose and called 9-1-1 for help.

When a police officer arrived at his residence, Parker admitted he was both diabetic and had ingested a large amount of meth. Paramedics arrived and, after doing a medical evaluation of Parker, determined that he did not need to be transported to the hospital for treatment, according to Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

Parker had an outstanding warrant for his arrest, so police took him into custody and transported him to the jail where things escalated, a taser had to be used to gain control of him and he was placed into a restraint chair. He subsequently lost consciousness and died.

At the time of the incident, Assistant Chief Schaeffer said the fire department would look into how the paramedics handled Parker's medical evaluation.

"If indeed this patient had ingested that methamphetamine, while he did not display any critical symptoms that were identified by the paramedic company, obviously there's a concern we might have missed something and now looking through retrospectively, we probably did," Schaeffer said in February. "Now all I can do at this point is try to make this situation a case for learning for us to go forward, make sure this doesn't happen again, and try to improve the system."