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Ocala
Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Marion County inmate dies after being uncooperative during cell inspection

A 46-year-old inmate at Marion County Jail died on Friday morning after he refused to cooperate with a routine cell inspection.

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, at approximately 7 a.m. on Friday, several detention deputies at the Marion County Jail responded to the administrative confinement section in response to an inmate, identified as Scott Leslie Whitley, III, who was being uncooperative with the inspection.

Scott Leslie Whitley III
Scott Leslie Whitley, III (Booking photo from Marion County Jail)

As soon as the deputies arrived on scene, Whitley resisted their efforts to place him in handcuffs for the duration of the inspection, according to MCSO. In an effort to gain Whitley’s compliance, the deputies deployed pepper foam and their electronic disabling devices (EDD) to stun him.

The pepper foam and EDD were unsuccessful, and six detention deputies were needed to subdue Whitley. According to MCSO, Whitley was brought outside of his cell and it was discovered that he did not appear to be breathing.

MCSO stated that the deputies immediately began life-saving measures as medical staff responded to the scene. Whitley was transported to AdventHealth where he was later pronounced deceased.

Whitley was being held at the jail on charges of resisting an officer with violence and violation of an injunction for protection against exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Due to previous attempts to escape from his cell and housing unit, as well as previous “acts of aggression” towards detention staff, Whitley had recently been transferred to the administrative confinement section of the jail, according to MCSO.

At the request of Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has responded to the jail and is actively investigating the incident. The detention deputies involved have been placed on suspension with pay, per standard procedure.

The detention deputies, who have invoked the protection of Marsy’s Law as the apparent victims of a criminal offense, are not being identified at this time, according to MCSO.