$10M lawsuit filed in case of Arlington County Detention Center inmate death

The family of Darryl Becton speak outside of the Arlington County Courthouse on Friday. (WTOP/Valerie Bonk)

A sister of a man who died while in the custody of the Arlington County Detention Center has filed a $10 million lawsuit against medical workers and members of the Arlington Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.

There have been seven inmate deaths at the Arlington County Detention Center in the last seven years.

Darryl Becton, 46, died on Oct. 1, 2020, while an inmate at the Arlington County Detention Center.

Lawyer Mark Krudys is representing Becton’s sister and administrator of his estate Monique Ford.

“He needed medical help, but it was not provided to him,” Krudys said.

The lawsuit claims that Becton was found dead in a cell around 4 p.m. He was processed into the detention center midday on Sept. 29.

It names as defendants Corizon Health and several of its nurses and doctors, as well as two members of the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office.

“It hurts us daily,” said Kaylah Becton, Darryl’s daughter. “I’m actually at a loss for words.”

A Corizon worker has been charged with falsifying patient records in the case, and the detention center has cut ties with the health provider.

Becton turned himself in for a probation violation and disclosed to medical personnel at the time that he suffered from hypertension and heart problems and he was “withdrawing from heroin and fentanyl,” according to the lawsuit.

The complaint claims that on the morning of Oct. 1, Corizon Health employees recorded an “alarmingly high blood pressure” for Becton.

It then states that he began to vomit and complained of nausea, debilitating body aches, headaches, tremors and diarrhea, the lawsuit claims.

It also states that nurses noted that his eyes were “pale.”

Just before 7 a.m., an incomplete set of vitals was taken by a Corizon employee, the lawsuit says, stating that it was the last time that his vitals were taken before his death.

Then, at 4:16 p.m., a counselor visiting the medical unit where Becton was knocked on the door and did not get a response, the lawsuit states.

When personnel entered the cell, Becton was “unresponsive and cool to the touch,” the lawsuit claims.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner concluded that Becton died from hypertensive cardiovascular disease complicated by opiate withdrawal.

The lawsuit also says that medical personnel noted that Becton had high blood pressure and heart problems and that he had swelling in his legs.

His family at a news conference after the lawsuit was filed on Friday said that they hope justice comes from this lawsuit.

“He’s no longer here to even just be a grandparent to his grandkids who also loved him a lot,” Kaylah said.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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