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PRONE: 16 minutes facedown, strapped down, and handcuffed

A video showing the last minutes of an Adams County inmate's life raises questions over how the mentally ill inmate was restrained.

Chris Vanderveen

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Published: 6:58 PM MST February 9, 2023
Updated: 7:23 PM MST February 9, 2023

The final 16 minutes of a mentally ill inmate’s life were spent facedown, handcuffed and strapped into a gurney on Christmas Eve inside the Adams County jail, according to a body camera video obtained by the 9NEWS ORIGINALS team.

The death of Arthur Roybal, 38, received scant attention when it happened. A news release issued a month after said little more than “an inmate appeared to be in distress… [and] was later pronounced deceased.”

But two nationally recognized use-of-force experts tell 9NEWS the restraint techniques used by Adams County deputies were textbook examples of what not to do and likely contributed to Roybal’s death.

Credit: Family
Arthur Roybal

The Adams County sheriff has declined our request for an interview. An internal investigation, a spokesperson says, “has not been initiated yet because we are waiting on the toxicology report and the medical examiner’s report.”

Roybal’s brother is considering legal action. Until 9NEWS showed him the body camera video earlier this week, he had yet to see it. When we asked him whether he was OK with the public watching it, Adam Hernandez said, “I am.”


“They need to see what the Adams County Detention Center is doing to their prisoners,” Hernandez replied.

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