Attorney General Martha Coakley said Wednesday that her office will review circumstances surrounding the 2009 death of a Bridgewater State Hospital patient, amid indications that the US attorney’s office is taking its own look at how Joshua K. Messier died.
Coakley, in a prepared statement, did not say whether she would seek a special prosecutor, as some have asked. But she expressed concern about Messier’s death and the treatment of mental health patients at Bridgewater.
“The circumstances of the death of Joshua Messier and the treatment of patients at Bridgewater, including the use of restraints and isolation, are deeply concerning,” Coakley said. “I believe they warrant a thorough review by our office and others to ensure that we are treating people with mental illness humanely and in a way that represents the best efforts to help them.”
Advocates for the mentally ill sent letters to Coakley Wednesday charging there was a government coverup of the circumstances surrounding the death of 23-year-old Messier, who succumbed as prison guards strapped him to a bed.
They noted that a state medical examiner ruled Messier’s death a homicide and that other investigators found that the guards violated department regulations and were responsible for his death. Yet Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz did not convene a grand jury to determine if criminal charges were warranted.
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