MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — The family of an inmate who died in a Michigan prison Tuesday believes corrections officers used excessive force.
Police say 24-year-old Dustin Szot was Tased after getting into a fight with another inmate at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia. He was taken to receive medical treatment then died later that afternoon. An autopsy was performed Wednesday, but results have not been released.
The Michigan Department of Corrections says the incident was captured on camera, and Szot’s family says they want to see the video.
The family told 24 Hour News 8 that they learned about Szot’s death from an inmate who witnessed the incident. The inmate told the family that three officers Tased Szot after he complied with orders.
“This face right here. I will never have it back again,” Christine Anderson, Szot’s mother, said as she looked at his photo.
Szot, a father of three, was serving a three-year sentence at the Ionia prison for home invasion.
“His kids adored him,” Anderson said. “He was their hero. He might have got in trouble one time, so what. That didn’t mean that he was that kind of not loving person.”
A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Corrections said Szot and another prisoner were fighting after lunch Tuesday. Both prisoners were told to stop fighting but refused. That’s when a prison guard used a Taser on both inmates.
“I knew that my son was dead before this prison called me because they (the prisoner) called and they said that, you need to get an attorney and you need to get on this because they did your son wrong,” Anderson recalled.
The prisoner told Szot’s family that three officers used a Taser on him after he complied with orders.
24 Hour News 8 asked MDOC spokesperson Chris Gautz if that was true?
“Those kinds of questions are the kind of things I can’t comment on because of the ongoing investigation,” said Gautz. “We want to make sure that the public and the family know exactly what happened. We are not going to rush to say anything until everyone has had time to review all the video, talk to staff, talk to everyone involved.”
If the officers were in the wrong, Szot’s family wants justice.
“I want them to pay for what they did,” Anderson said.
24 Hour News 8 has filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the video. MDOC says a judge would have to grant the request. Video inside prisons is usually kept private because it’s a security concern if inmates know where cameras are positioned.