Lakewood OH

Death of Westlake city jail inmate under investigation

By Kevin Kelley

An inmate at the Westlake city jail died Jan. 15 after being found unresponsive around 1 p.m. Attempts by police and paramedics to resuscitate him were unsuccessful, Westlake Police Capt. Guy Turner told West Life.

Raphael Benjamin (Photo courtesy of Westlake Police Department)

The suspect, Raphael Benjamin, 32, of Cleveland, had been arrested the previous afternoon following a traffic stop on I-90, Turner said.

“Benjamin had hypodermic needles in his possession, was driving under suspension and had an active warrant from the Brooklyn Police Department,” Turner said in a statement. “Further investigation found a scale, baggies and a small amount of suspected marijuana in the vehicle he was driving.”

Officials from the Cuyahoga County medical examiner’s officer went to the Westlake jail to retrieve the body. They will determine the official cause of death,  Turner said.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation has been asked by the police department to assist with the investigation of the death, Turner said.

The inmate’s death caused the city to postpone a swearing-in ceremony Jan. 15 for the department’s new police chief, Kevin Bielozer. The ceremony had been scheduled for less than an hour after Benjamin was found unconscious at the jail.



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