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Joel Huerta, 56
Santa Barbara, California
August 04, 2016

Agencies: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office California | Santa Barbara Police Department California

Last updated: 7 months ago

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56 year-old Joel Huerta died in police custody an hour after being arrested. Huerta was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of drugs around 12:30 a.m. Thursday after Santa Barbara police officers responded to a call on the 500 block of East De la Guerra Street, sheriff's department spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. 

He was restrained and taken to the County Jail "due to his level of impairment," Hoover said. 

"Upon his arrival (at 12:50 a.m.), jail medical staff attempted to assess Huerta, but he refused to answer any questions," she said in a statement Thursday evening. 

"Due to the circumstances that he was highly impaired and wasn't answering questions," ​Huerta was taken to a cell for observation and had his restraints removed, Hoover said.

He became unresponsive almost immediately, she said.  

Custody deputies and medical staff used an automatic external defibrillator and performed CPR. County Fire paramedics arrived and continued resuscitation efforts but Huerta died around 1:30 a.m., Hoover said. 

The County Fire Department received the medical emergency call for the jail at 4434 Calle Real at 1:05 a.m., Capt. Dave Zaniboni said.

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