The Justice Department inspector general has launched an investigation into the death of a federal inmate who lost consciousness after corrections officers pepper-sprayed him at a New York detention center.

Jamel Floyd, 35, died Wednesday after a fracas at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, the federal Bureau of Prisons said.

The incident began about 10 a.m. when Floyd barricaded himself inside his cell and used a metal object to break the cell-door window, the agency said.

Floyd “became increasingly disruptive and potentially harmful to himself and others,” the bureau said, prompting officers to deploy pepper spray to subdue him.

Floyd became unresponsive and was rushed to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, the bureau said.

In a statement Thursday, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said his office is investigating the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death.

The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The death comes as the federal prison system grapples with COVID-19 outbreaks that have claimed the lives of 72 inmates and one staffer.

Floyd’s death did not appear to be related to the coronavirus, the bureau said. He had arrived at the federal detention facility on Oct. 30, 2019.



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