Deputies investigate death of Marion County inmate after jail officials subdue him during cell check

Scott Whitley III transported to hospital, where he died, sheriff’s office says

The death of Scott Whitley III is under investigation after six detention deputies subdued the inmate during a cell inspection Friday, according to the sheriff's office. (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – The sheriff’s office is investigating the death of a Marion County inmate after six detention deputies deployed pepper foam and subdued him during a routine cell inspection Friday morning.

According to deputies, the investigation was prompted after detention authorities at Marion County Jail responded to the administrative confinement section around 7 a.m., when Scott Whitley III was refusing to cooperate with a cell inspection.

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Whitley refused to let the deputies handcuff him for the duration of the inspection, the sheriff’s office said. As a result, deputies said the jail officials deployed pepper foam and Electronic Disabling Devices, or EDDs, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to stun Whitley and gain his compliance.

The sheriff’s office said “a group of six detention deputies were required to subdue Whitley.” After he was brought out of his cell, deputies said they discovered Whitley wasn’t breathing.

According to investigators, detention deputies immediately began life-saving measures as medical staff responded and Whitley was transported to the hospital, where he later died.

Deputies said Whitley, who was facing charges for resisting an officer with violence and violation of an injunction for protection against exploitation of a vulnerable adult, had recently been transferred to the administrative confinement section due to previous attempts to escape his cell and housing unit, as well as for acting aggressively toward jail staff.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is actively investigating the death and the detention deputies involved have been placed on suspension with pay.

The deputies involved invoked Marsy’s Law and are therefore not being identified at this time, the sheriff’s office said.

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About the Author:

Samantha started at WKMG-TV in September 2020. Before joining the News 6 team, Samantha was a political reporter for The Villages Daily Sun and has had freelance work featured in the Evansville Courier-Press and The Community Paper. When not writing, she enjoys travelling and performing improv comedy.