WEST PALM BEACH (CBS4) – A grand jury has been convened in West Palm Beach to investigate the death of a teenager who died hours after unsuccessfully seeking medical care at a juvenile detention center.
According to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald, state prosecutors in Palm Beach County have also asked a judge to prevent the release of a video of 18-year-old Eric Perez’ final hours at the juvenile facility.
The Department of Juvenile Justice has acknowledged that staff failed to act properly in not seeking help for Perez when he was in distress in the hours before his death on July 10. He had sought help for a severe headache and vomiting. The cause of his death remains undetermined. Juvenile justice officials fired and suspended employees after the teen’s death.
Perez had been in the center for possession of marijuana.
His mother, Maritza Perez, has requested the video under Florida’s public records law. It shows her son in the time before his death, but officials are declining to release it.
She told the Miami Herald that officials asked her to promise not to make it public, but she declined, saying she wants people to see how her son died. “I want the tape, and I’m going to show it to the world,” Perez told the newspaper.
The Legislature passed a law this year prohibiting the release of videos showing anyone’s death except to immediate family of the deceased.
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