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Two men have died since Saturday in the Racine County Jail
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Two men have died since Saturday in the Racine County Jail

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RACINE — Two men have died in the Racine County Jail since Saturday, the Racine County Sheriff's Office has reported.

The first man was 22-year-old Ronquale Ditello-Scott Jr., for whom the cause of death has not been confirmed.

He was arrested at about 3 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of OWI in Waterford, was reported to have been sleeping in his holding cell that morning but then was found to be not breathing at about 8 a.m. and was confirmed dead at the jail, according to the Racine County Sheriff's Office.

Ditello-Scott, of Whitewater, was a father of one who was engaged to be married. His second child is due in September.

The second man who died at the jail was Malcolm I. James, 27, Racine County Medical Examiner Michael Payne confirmed.

He was arrested Friday night by the Racine Police Department after he allegedly set his apartment building on fire during a mental health crisis; according to charging documents, he allegedly called police on himself, saying he didn't want to die and that he "just didn't know what to do."

According to a Wednesday morning news release from the Racine County Sheriff's Office that did not mention James by name: "During his time in the jail, based upon his recent suicide attempt, the suspect was placed on suicide close watch in a high visibility cell. During this same time, the suspect engaged in multiple acts of self-harm where he would, amongst other acts, violently smash his head into a concrete wall. On one occasion, the suspect’s self-harming behavior was serious enough that the Sheriff’s Office transported the suspect to a hospital for additional medical attention."

On Tuesday night, according to the RCSO, James again "was again smashing his head into a concrete wall so violently that it was audible to jail staff. When the jail staff took steps to medically evaluate the suspect and prevent him from harming himself, he experienced a medical event which led to him becoming unresponsive. Medical staff, which was present and standing by, immediately provided medical care and additional emergency personnel were summoned to the jail. Ultimately, the suspect did not regain consciousness, and he was pronounced dead."

According to the RCSO, all jail staff who attended to James immediately before his death have been placed on administrative leave.

The Kenosha County Sheriff's Department is investigating both deaths.

UPDATED: This story initially misstated the day of Malcolm James' arrest. It has now been corrected.

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On Friday, a statement from a Racine County Sheriff's Office public information officer issued a statement indicating that it plans to release no more information about what occurred pending the investigations of the deaths, both of which are being led by the Kenosha County Sheriff's Department.

"The Racine County Sheriff’s Office has released two statements to the media concerning two inmate deaths in the County Jail on Saturday, May 29, 2021, and Tuesday, June 1, 2021," Sgt. Michael J. Luell said in an email. "The investigations into the two deaths are being handled by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office. The Racine County Sheriff’s Office is cooperating fully with the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Office, as-well-as the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office (which is reported to be performing the autopsies). In respect to the integrity of the investigative process, the Sheriff’s Office is not providing any additional information or making public comments at this time."

The fiancée of one of the men that she is "now left with more questions than answers" after the little information she has received from the Racine County Sheriff's Office.

Despite requests from at least one elected official, an attorney representing two families and a national civil rights organization, video from the deaths of two men in the Racine County Jail are not expected to be released anytime soon. The investigations of the deaths, currently led by the Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department, are also unlikely to be taken over by state or federal authorities as some have demanded.

Families of Malcolm James and Ronquale Ditello-Scott Jr. are still left with more questions than answers; James' mother said she still has never been contacted by the Racine County Sheriff's Office, now 10 days after her son's death.

"I’d like to know what really happened," Malcolm James' father said during a rally Friday with tears on his face. "Is that so hard to do, just call somebody and let them know what’s happened?”

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