Gov. Patrick vows review of Bridgewater prison death - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Gov. Patrick vows review of Bridgewater prison death

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FOX UNDERCOVER (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Five years after Joshua Messier died while being restrained by correction officers at Bridgewater State Hospital, Governor Deval Patrick is ordering a state investigation and vowing to make changes so a death like that never happens again.

Patrick told reporters today that his reaction to the death, which was recorded by hospital cameras, was that "it's disgusting."

"I've followed this story. I've asked a lot of questions, and not all of those questions have yet been answered to my satisfaction, but they will be," he said.

Patrick is also promising $1 million in for more training for law enforcement, including correction officers, to help them de-escalate situations with mentally ill people.

While other media have reported on Messier's death, including a 2012 FOX Undercover report that showed video of the restraint, Gov. Patrick was reacting to a report in The Boston Globe.

Messier grew up in a typical home in Charlton, but his life spiraled downward when schizophrenia struck while he was in college.

He was sent to Bridgewater State Hospital, which is run by the state Department of Correction, after being charged with punching a nurse in a psychiatric hospital.

The events that led to his death also began with an outburst. After a visit with his mother, he punched a correction officer seemingly at random. It drew a swift response from guards that left him bruised, but subdued.

Despite his calmed state, the officers decided to restrain each arm and leg to a bed. The video shows how, soon after placing him on the bed, one officer begins pushing on Messier's torso, folding his body like a suitcase.

"That's causing his body to go forward and with that your body's not able to breathe," Messier's family's attorney, Ben Novotny of Lubin & Meyer, told FOX Undercover in 2012. "So essentially what you're doing is you're suffocating him."

"Do you believe they're killing him right here?" FOX Undercover reporter Mike Beaudet asked.

"Oh absolutely," Novotny replied.

Eventually Messier becomes still. The officers ease up, and begin putting him in restraints, seemingly oblivious to his condition.

"He's not breathing. You don't see his chest rise. You see in his face in the video turning colors, going from regular skin colors down to red and now to blue," Novotny said, describing the video before him.

After Messier had been still for more than nine minutes, a nurse finally checks for a pulse. Finding none, she runs for help, but is too late.

Messier's father, Kevin Messier, still hasn't watched the video.

"I want answers and I want justice," he said in 2012. "In this country you shouldn't be able to do this kind of thing and say, ‘Oh well,' and then leave."

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