Inmate Zeke Davis Died In Sheriff’s Custody After Being Booked At The Vista Detention Facility

VISTA, CALIFORNIA (July 11, 2023) – An inmate identified as Zeke Davis has tragically died in San Diego County Sheriff’s Department custody after a stay at the Vista Detention Facility.

San Diego County police are saying that the inmate was first arrested on June 28th by the Oceanside Police Department. Zeke Davis was being booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

During the medical screening process, officers determined that he needed to be taken to a hospital for a follow-up. He was admitted into the hospital for a pre-existing medical condition.

Despite additional care, Zeke Davis was later pronounced dead at the North County Hospital. In the final week of June, two other men died in San Diego County Sheriff’s Department custody.

A full investigation remains ongoing at this time.


Liability For San Diego County In Custody Deaths

San Diego County has a particularly poor track record for its treatment of inmates. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego has the highest number of “excess deaths” among the 12 largest county jail systems across the state of California. Researchers that conducted the study said that “excess deaths” are defined as those that occurred above rates expected on a standardized population of jail systems. Inmates in San Diego county face a number of issues during their incarceration.

  • A large number of inmates are attacked or killed during their stays.
  • There are numerous reports of inmates being beaten by guards.
  • Many inmates are not getting the timely medical care that they need.
  • A large number of inmates die after overdosing on opioids.

Medical neglect in prison is a serious problem. Inmates have a constitutional right to receive reasonably adequate healthcare. This includes care for any pre-existing medical conditions that an inmate has. Jails also need to care for the medical issues that an inmate may develop during their stay. In California, an inmate may bring a claim under 42 U.S. Code § 1983 if their civil rights were violated by a prison. The plaintiff in such a claim would need to demonstrate the inmate (1) had a serious medical need and (2) the jail displayed deliberate indifference to that need. There are many ways a jail could violate the rights of an inmate.

  • A jail may have failed to give an inmate their medication for seizures.
  • A jail may have failed to get an inmate the timely care they needed.
  • A jail may have failed to treat an inmate in the midst of a drug overdose.

A large portion of the people who die in prison were never formally convicted of a crime. Instead, they might die during their detention prior to trial. This is both tragic and in far too many situations avoidable. The family of any person that died in-custody may be able to seek some measure of justice through a constitutional claim. Even when a jail lists a death as ‘natural,’ this is often not the case. It is best to get  a second opinion by someone skilled in constitutional law.

Investigating Inmate Deaths At The Vista Detention Center

We at the Sehat Law Firm extend our deepest condolences to the family of Zeke Davis. Any person that may have more information about what happened should reach out to investigators. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to preserve the constitutional rights of all inmates across San Diego County. Every person deserves to be treated with fairness, dignity and equality no matter what they are accused of.

Do you need more information about an in-custody death at the Vista Detention Center? Our team of highly experienced civil rights advocates are here to answer any questions that you may have. We focus entirely on helping people who have been harmed by government abuses or neglect. Whether you just have legal questions or need a free, independent analysis of an in-custody death we may be able to help you. You can reach out to us anytime at (949) 825-5200.

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