Inmate from viral video dies after collapsing in MCSO jail yard

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by Jennifer Thomas

Video reports by Crystal Cruz

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 1:55 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 25 at 1:56 PM

PHOENIX -- An inmate whose scuffle with a Mesa police officer was caught on video died after collapsing in the recreation yard of the Fourth Avenue Jail Monday afternoon.

Matangi Tai, 37, was exercising with other inmates when he collapsed at about 4 p.m., according to Deputy Joaquin Enriquez with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Tai was transported to St. Luke's Hospital in Phoenix where he was pronounced dead.

An investigation into his death is planned, but Enriquez said a preliminary view of the security tapes showed no sign of any altercation occurring.

Enriquez said Tai had access to the air-conditioned jail through an open door and water at the time of his collapse.

Tai was arrested on May 30 after Circle K employees called police to report he was trespassing. He then got into a fight with a Mesa police officer, an off-duty officer and a security guard.

YouTube video of the incident went viral.

Some bystanders claimed the police used excessive force during the scuffle.

Tai was booked on two counts of aggravated assault against an officer, resisting arrest, criminal damage and criminal trespass.

 

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