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3 agencies investigating death of 71-year-old inmate

Denver’s sheriff acknowledged the death of Leroy Taylor during a public meeting on Friday. Taylor was trying to get out of jail because of severe COVID symptoms.

DENVER — Three agencies are conducting investigations into why an inmate died in custody two days after his attorney begged the court to release him because of COVID.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Mr. Taylor,” Sheriff Elias Diggins said on Friday during a meeting with the Citizens Oversight Board. 

>Video above is from a Feb. 14 report about allegations of neglect at Denver’s jail after a 71-year-old inmate died

Diggins told the board he couldn’t speak about the circumstances surrounding the passing of Leroy Taylor because of pending investigations by Denver Police, the Public Integrity Division and Denver Health. 

Such investigations are standard when someone dies in jail custody. 

Taylor died on Feb. 9, two days after his attorney filed an emergency motion seeking medical release because of severe COVID symptoms. The motion was never heard by a judge. 

9Wants to Know obtained the emergency motion which describes Taylor as being “barely audible” and having “extraordinarily difficulty breathing.” 

Members of the COB expressed concern about Taylor’s death and asked Sheriff Diggins questions about the abilities of Denver Health medical personnel who work inside the jail. 

“I think overall, Denver Health does a phenomenal job in the care that they provide,” Diggins said. 

Diggins could not say when investigations would be completed and Denver Health would not comment beyond a statement it sent earlier this week indicating it's looking into the incident. 

If you have any information about this story or have any other news tips, you can email jeremy@9news.com.

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