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Deputy heard saying 'another satisfied customer' after forcing door of transport van shut

Demetrius Shankling died in 2018 after he was placed facedown and handcuffed in a transport van for a roughly 16-minute drive to a detox center.

BOULDER, Colo. — Nearly a week after a jury convicted two former Boulder County deputies in a 2018 death, the district attorney's office released five different videos of the incident that resulted in the conviction.

James O’Brien and Adam Lunn were convicted Friday in the 2018 death of 23-year-old Demetrius Shankling, who died after he was placed facedown and handcuffed in a transport van for a roughly 16-minute drive to a detox center.

RELATED: Former Boulder deputies found guilty of manslaughter after man dies in transport van

The pair was taking Shankling to the alcohol recovery center after Boulder police said they found him stumbling around in the morning hours of Sept. 9, 2018, near Canyon Boulevard in Boulder.

Credit: Facebook

Many of the events from that night were captured on video or audio from body-worn cameras as well as a camera inside the transport van. Three of the five videos released are from cameras worn by three different Boulder Police officers. The other two videos are from the transport van.

One video captured the initial interaction where Shankling is on the ground, arguing that he shouldn't go to detox. 

Editor's note: This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

RELATED: 2 Boulder County deputies charged in asphyxiation death no longer with sheriff's office

In one video, the deputies are heard telling Shankling, “step in or you’re going in on your face.” As they put him in the van, one person can be heard saying “adios muchachos.”

After they shut the door to the van, with him in headfirst and laying down, someone is heard saying, “hasta la vista, another satisfied customer.” 

According to an arrest affidavit, the van compartment was one of two and was almost 5 feet long. Shankling was 6 feet tall. He didn't move as deputies put him into the back of the van, and to get him in there, they had to force the van door closed, the report says. The video indicates they counted to three and then appeared to shove the door shut.

Once he's inside the van, someone is heard telling Shankling to put his foot down as it is up against the door. That person says they can't leave until he does. Someone is heard saying they think "he's playing possum." 

Ultimately they drive off with Shankling still on the floor, where he stays for the entire drive to the detox center.

RELATED: Man found unresponsive on way to detox center dies one month later

Another video captured the moments when they arrived at the detox center and realized that Shankling is unresponsive. They appear frantic and yell for Shankling to wake up, and they begin CPR.

Editor's note: This video contains graphic content. Viewer discretion is advised.

Shankling had a blood alcohol content level of .352 and had amphetamines in his system around the time of death, the report says. According to a BAC chart from nonprofit Aware Awake Alive, a .352 blood-alcohol content is life-threatening. According to the pathology report, Shankling's manner of death was a homicide caused by positional asphyxiation with the combined toxic effects of ethanol and amphetamine.

Lunn and O’Brien each face up to six years in prison. Sentencing is set for Nov. 4.

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