Attorney General James' Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit Releases Report on Investigation into the Death of Ferdy Jacinto-Martinez

ROCKLAND COUNTY – Attorney General Letitia James’ Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit (SIPU), today, released its report into the death of Ferdy Jacinto-Martinez. After a comprehensive investigation, SIPU did not find criminal culpability on the part of the members of the Rockland County Correctional Facility (RCCF) who were involved in the use of force that ended in Mr. Jacinto-Martinez’s death. Mr. Jacinto-Martinez was taken into custody on the night of July 20, 2019, by the Spring Valley Police Department (SVPD) and was transferred to the RCCF the next day. Early on the morning of July 23, 2019, as RCCF officers attempted to secure Mr. Jacinto-Martinez to a gurney for transport to the hospital, he became unresponsive and never recovered. Based on multiple witness interviews, many hours of video footage, the opinion of two forensic pathologists, and a thorough review of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, SIPU determined that it could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force in this instance was unjustified or the degree to which such use of force contributed to Mr. Jacinto-Martinez’s death.

SIPU’s investigation did reveal some issues of serious concern regarding the actions of the RCCF officers involved in the incident and with certain RCCF policies and practices generally. Consequently, SIPU issued recommendations to address these concerns, including the need to improve language access practices, implementing the use of both audio and video recording systems whenever a restraint chair is used, and requiring better training so that RCCF officers can identify and properly handle inmates who exhibit certain health issues. Additionally, RCCF should be directed not to make contact with inmates’ neck and to ensure that if force is necessary to handle a situation, it is proportionate to the circumstances.

“The death of Ferdy Jacinto-Martinez was tragic and we send our condolences to his family and loved ones,” said Attorney General James. “We engaged in a comprehensive review of the events surrounding Mr. Jacinto-Martinez’s death and concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to warrant or sustain criminal charges. Nevertheless, we found that some of the actions of the responding officers were cause for grave concern. As such, we have issued a number of recommendations that RCCF should take into account, including ensuring the availability of translators when inmates who don’t speak English are taken into custody and requiring additional training for RCCF officers to properly handle inmates who are experiencing health complications.”