A case summary and report from the Metro Nashville Police Department reveal more details about the death of Micheal Minick in Nashville General Hospital last May.
Minick’s mother and wife, the co-administrators of his estate, filed a lawsuit against 17 individuals and agencies last week, claiming he was beaten to death by four Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
The police report reveals that the Davidson County medical examiner determined the death to be a homicide. In a report clearing the deputies of the charge of homicide/nonnegligent manslaughter, MNPD Detective Mike Roland reported finding insufficient evidence.
“There was nothing uncovered that suggested the officers involved did anything other than use an amount of force they felt necessary to restrain Michael Minick and gain control of him to prevent him from hurting himself or others,” Roland wrote in the case summary.
The four deputies named in the suit are Christopher Foster, Jeffrey Davidson, Morris Craven and Matthew Barshaw. According to a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, the deputies were placed on temporary assignments with no direct inmate supervision until the criminal investigation concluded. The deputies returned to their normal assignments after they were cleared of charges.
The summary also states that the police officer who arrested Minick in the woods in Goodlettsville suspected that he was exhibiting symptoms of “excited delirium.”
He was arrested for failing to appear in court on a suspended driver’s license charge after police found wandering in the woods. When he was transported to the hospital, his wife and mother brought medications that he had been taking for a mental disorder. They also came with an empty vial of “Loco Motion Bath Salts” that Minick had been taking, according to Roland.
The lawsuit and police report are similar in recounting the events that took place in the hospital room. According to the police documents, Minick became combative and broke free from a leg restraint in the hospital room when a deputy called for backup.
Minick struggled with the four deputies, two of whom sprayed him with pepper spray. The deputies also struck Minick in the face after he tried to bite them, according to the report. Handcuffs were eventually put on Minick, but he kept kicking so a deputy struck his thigh with a baton. Finally, Minick “slowly stopped resisting” and was placed in leg irons, according to MNPD.
The lawsuit claims that Minick was beaten while he was shackled, something not mentioned in the police report.
Minick, a father of three from Gallatin, died on July 2, 2011, after being in a coma for over a month.
Even though MNPD determined no criminal activity took place, the case was forwarded to the District Attorney’s office, who came to the same conclusion. DA spokeswoman Susan Niland said the DA’s Office presented the case to the grand jury out of “an abundance of caution or care ... to see if they saw anything differently.”
A Davidson County grand jury heard testimony in the case on Nov. 28, 2011, but decided not to bring any charges against the deputies.
U.S. District Court Judge William Haynes recused himself from hearing the case Wednesday. Judge Aleta Trauger was assigned to the case in his place.