Police, Sheriff's, D.A.'s offices investigating death at Mental Health Complex

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke spoke out Thursday, October 11th against the death of 25-year-old Brandon Johnson. Johnson died over the weekend at Milwaukee County's Mental Health Complex -- the Complex's fifth death this year. An investigation into Johnson's death by Milwaukee County's District Attorney John Chisholm, the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office is underway.

Johnson died three days after he was admitted to the Mental Health Complex. His death was the fifth at the Complex this year.

An autopsy done at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office indicates that Johnson died of a broken neck that caused a blood clot to form in his leg that went into his lung, causing him to die of a pulmonary embolism.

"That's not a natural death -- a broken neck. I ordered a more intense and robust investigation to determine how this individual broke his neck," Sheriff Clarke said.

Johnson's family told FOX6 News they believe Johnson was denied medical help at the Complex. Johnson's family told FOX6 News Johnson had reported he lost feeling in his legs on Thursday, but was denied medical help.

"He was neglected. He was crying out for help and for the nurse to say 'I didn't believe him -- that's just what they do around here' -- that's not following proper procedures," Johnson-Lewis said.

After speaking with Milwaukee County's Medical Examiner, Johnson's aunt says Johnson suffered injuries to his neck and back leading to blood clots in his legs. Those blood clots reportedly made their way to Johnson's lungs -- leading to his death.

"They killed my son. Brandon was saying 'Mom, my chest -- feel my chest Mom. Isn't it hard? Mom, I can't walk or feel my legs,'" Johnson's mother, Alesha Johnson said.

Johnson is the fifth patient to pass away at the Mental Health Complex this year.

"There is something wrong with that. It definitely needs to be investigated," Johnson-Lewis said.

Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Administrator Paula Lucey issued the following statement to FOX6 News: "The Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division takes the health and safety of all of our patients very seriously. Like we do in all deaths, we are working with the proper authorities to make sure this incident is fully investigated."

While Johnson's family says the Medical Examiner had determined blood clots to be the cause of Johnson's death, they had not determined the manner of his death. Johnson's family says the Medical Examiner's Office had not ruled out homicide.

Sheriff Clarke says Johnson was taken to the Complex via Milwaukee police following their response to a home after the report of a man with mental health issues behaving irrationally.

Johnson was the oldest of five, and the first of his brothers to graduate college in 2009.

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