Florida Inmate Dies from Police Dog Bite After Repeated Calls for Help

A photo of Max Gracia, the 22-year-old Orlando man who died while he was an inmate at Orange County Jail. (Courtesy of the Gracia family)
A photo of Max Gracia, the 22-year-old Orlando man who died while he was an inmate at Orange County Jail. (Courtesy of the Gracia family)

The Orange County inmate who died last year was punished hours before his death for “faking or exaggerating” an illness, newly released records show. 

Max Gracia, 22, was arrested Aug. 6, 2015 and was facing charges of armed robbery and resisting an officer with violence. He was bitten by an Orlando police dog during his arrest.

He was found unconscious in his cell at the Orange County Jail four days later and taken to the hospital where he died. An autopsy showed the bites led to an E. coli infection. The infection led to a fatal blood infection.

Gracia told Officer Arnulfo Vargas at 9:45 p.m. he could not get off the bed, an incident report states.

Nurse Karen Clairmont was called to the cell and told Gracia he was seen standing hours earlier, records show.

She told the officer that she believed Gracia was “faking or exaggerating” the illness and inability to get up, jail records show.

Vargas then said he instructed Gracia to get up so he could be moved to a different cell, “but again he said that he could not move and remained lying on his back on the cell door,” an incident report states.

Vargas informed Cpl. Gwenetta Garrett of the two incidents and Gracia was punished.

He faced disciplinary action for failure to follow orders from staff and feigning an illness, records show.

Garrett said she saw Gracia lying on the floor of his cell, “groaning in a lethargic manner,” records show. She said she told Gracia to get off the floor and he responded faintly that he could not move.

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Source: Orlando Sentinel | Christal Hayes