On a late Monday night in 2013, police pulled over Brian Michael Hunter for making an unsafe lane change. He was arrested on old warrants and taken to the City Detention Center, which is run by the City Marshal's Office, and placed in solitary confinement. The next morning, city jail employees found him unresponsive, police said. Why he was put in solitary confinement was left unexplained. Hunter, 32, was pronounced dead at an emergency room. At the time, police told reporters that they would provide more information about the circumstances of Hunter's death once they got it, but a year passed with no updates from the Dallas Police Department.
Now we have more of an answer: Dallas police closed the investigation into Hunter's death back in April 2014 after an autopsy report determined that he died from a meth overdose. The autopsy report and the Dallas Police Department's investigative report were released to Unfair Park through an open records request. Because he died from a drug overdose, the jail staff and the police are off the hook for any additional investigations into his death by the District Attorney's Office. As the DPD's investigative report explains: "...Mr. Hunters [sic] death was ruled ACCIDENTAL. This was based on toxicology results that showed that Mr. Hunter had ingested 7.0 mg/L of Methamphetamine and .82 mg/L of Amphetamine." But the report doesn't address or explain why Hunter was put in solitary confinement the night before he died.
According to the DPD's report, Hunter had taken meth in the squad car on his way to the jail, and the other inmates knew he was high, the police report says. "The suspicion of drugs that were ingested came early in the investigation and was documented from interviews done on inmates that were with Mr. Hunter at the CDC facility. I/O also obtained video from the In-Dash squad car where Mr. Hunter appears to be swallowing the drugs after he was arrested for alias warrants and placed in the rear seat of the squad car."
When Hunter was found unresponsive in his cell the next morning, his jaw was clenched and he was foaming at the mouth, says the autopsy report, which also ruled his death an accident.
At a news conference back in October 2013, a Dallas Police spokesman told reporters that "arresting officers 'had no indication that (Hunter) was intoxicated by any means.'"
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the Observer's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Dallas's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Send your story tips to the author, Amy Silverstein.