Two Colorado Sheriff’s Office deputies have been charged with manslaughter after investigators determined they killed a man by placing him in a confined space on his stomach while transporting him to a detox facility in September. Demetrius Shankling, 23, was picked up by the deputies but was found unresponsive and not breathing when he arrived at the Addiction Recovery Center. Shankling was placed on life support but died 27 days later. An autopsy report concluded he died from “positional asphyxia with the combined toxic effects of ethanol and amphetamine contributing,” and the death was ruled a homicide.
According to body camera and transport van surveillance footage, the two deputies physically placed Shankling on his stomach with his hands behind his back on the floor of one of the transport van’s holding compartments, which contain benches with seat belts. According to the affidavit, Shankling, who was 6 feet tall, was placed into the passenger-side rear compartment, which is less than 5 feet in length. Both men reportedly had training that cautioned not to place a person in that manner due to the risk of asphyxia.