MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Samuel Harrell, 30, who served several prison sentences since 2002 for drug-related crimes, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2010.
According to an Orange County medical examiner autopsy report, obtained by the newspaper, Harrell sustained cuts and bruises to the head and died of cardiac arrhythmia after a "physical altercation with corrections officers."
The autopsy report indicated homicide as the manner of death.
According to The New York Times, Harrell engaged in a fight with 20 guards who kicked and punched him before throwing him down a staircase. Other inmates witnessing the altercation said the officers shouted racial slurs.
After the inmate was killed, guards reportedly called an ambulance but did not report the fight. Instead, officers suggested the detainee had an overdose of synthetic marijuana.
Prison witnesses identified several guards who took part in the beating. Authorities have not confirmed the prison officer identities.
Harrell had five disciplinary infractions while in prison, including for possessing contraband, prison records showed. None of those cases are said to have involved violence.