Family wants answers after man found dead in WBR jail

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - "He walked into that police station. He walked in there and he had to be rolled out."

Tori Paddio grieves alongside the family of her boyfriend Ervin Edwards. Edwards got into an argument Tuesday evening at the Chevron gas station on Hwy. 415 near I-10. The clerk heard the commotion and called police, Paddio said. She said her boyfriend did not think he did anything wrong so he resisted arrest.

"It took like six of them to actually get him down and when they had him down they pulled out a taser and the mace and I said, 'You can't tase him; he has high blood pressure and a lot of medical conditions. You can't do that!' So they put it back. They didn't do it," she said.

Edwards was brought to the West Baton Rouge Parish Jail where, according to Sheriff Mike Cazes, he continued to resist officers and deputies once the cuffs were taken off.

"They gave him a 3-count demand saying 'OK if you don't cooperate you will be tased.' And all three times, ultimately, he used some profanity back toward the policeman and said, 'Whatever. Do what you have to do.' in that sense of the wording," Cazes said.

Edwards was then tased in the buttocks area and placed in a holding cell, Cazes said. Deputies noticed Edwards banging his head against the wall so Edwards was moved to a padded isolation cell. He was found unresponsive less than 30 minutes later and the coroner's office was notified. Edwards was pronounced dead inside the jail.

Cazes said at his at his request Edwards' body was taken to Jefferson Parish for an independent autopsy. The results are pending toxicology tests that could take up to three weeks. The Sheriff also said cameras in the jail recorded the incident.

"We will review the video and everything else and make sure everything is up to par, and I had all my detectives come in and they gave statements about everything that went on that night," Cazes said.

Edwards' family continues to put the blame on jail officials, and said the warden offered no details as to what happened.  

"I need to know how my child died. Why he died. He just came to Baton Rouge to pick her [Paddio] up and was on his way back to Jennings and now he's not going to come back," Vonnie Edwards said.

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