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Florida inmate reportedly dies after alleged attack on prison deputies

FROSTPROOF, Fla. — An inmate in Polk County, Florida, reportedly died after allegedly attacking prison deputies, officials say.

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Polk County Sheriff’s Office in a news release said that they are investigating an officer-involved deadly incident after a registered sex offender inmate died at a hospital Friday. PCSO said the inmate was taken to the hospital after allegedly attacking prison deputies at the South County Jail.

The inmate was identified as Eric Nelson, 46, according to WFLA. Nelson was arrested by Lakeland police for possession of methamphetamine and paraphernalia.

According to WFLA, Nelson reportedly told deputies that he hadn’t been able to sleep for a few days, became combative and yelled at staff before kicking his cell door.

Nelson was transferred to the South County Jail in Frostproof, Florida. He was placed on a suicide watch there. He was reportedly told to remove his clothes and put on a smock when he allegedly punched a deputy in the face, according to WFLA.

PCSO said Nelson was placed on the ground but continued to “fight, punch, kick and bite the deputies.”

More deputies arrived to assist and reportedly sprayed Nelson with a chemical agent to try to subdue him but it didn’t seem to affect him, according to WFLA. PCSO said that his strength was “greater than a normal person” which was believed to be because of alleged drug use.

Nelson eventually was in handcuffs and leg shackles when taken to a private cell, according to WFLA. Deputies reportedly put Nelson on the ground to remove the restraints.

PCSO said once the restraints were removed, deputies were getting ready to leave the cell when they noticed Nelson was not breathing and the color in his face was changing. Jail and medical staff began to provide Nelson with life-saving measuring before being taken to the hospital.

Nelson was declared dead at the hospital, according to WFLA.

PCSO said Nelson has a 26-year criminal history that began in 1995 which included 16 total criminal charges, 12 felonies, 4 misdemeanors and 5 felony convictions.

PCSO is conducting an internal investigation into the incident in addition to the one the 10th Judicial Circuit Investigation is conducting, according to WFLA. The Polk County Medical Examiner will be conducting an autopsy to determine Nelson’s official cause of death.

No further information has been released.