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I’m not buying sheriff’s euphemisms 

In the article on the sheriff’s department a few weeks ago (“Clearing the air,� Jan. 27-Feb. 3), concerning Keith Yecny:

It was stated that jail staff was cleared of any wrongdoing by the district attorney’s office. The fact is that jail staff was cleared of any “prosecutable� crime. Secondly, it was stated that Keith Yecny died during an “altercation� with jail staff. Just prior to his death, six officers and a nurse moved him on a gurney from a holding cell to an isolation cell, fully restrained. Just seven minutes and 11 seconds later with five officers in the unmonitored isolation cell he was out of oxygen, showing all symptoms of the recently coined term “positional asphyxia.�

I’m not saying this happened, but it sure sounds like it. Sorry, but I’m having a hard time with use of the word “altercation� under these circumstances. Time to quit beating around the bush: Positional Asphyxia = Sit On Until Blue. Keith was a kind and gentle young man, troubled by drugs like many of our neighbors in his age group. It’s more common than you think. I watched Keith grow up across the street; he was a good friend of the family. Last time I saw him was three days after the “altercation‚� in the ICU at Sierra Vista Hospital. He was on life support, cuffed to the bed hand and foot, having been declared brain-dead two days prior. If I may quote retired Sheriff Ed Williams, “incarceration, not punishment.� Think about it.


Rob Olson

San Luis Obispo

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