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Family of deceased Green Haven inmate questions death, investigation

Russell McGee was allegedly found unresponsive in his cell Sept. 17 during a monthslong EMS crisis, with delayed or no ambulances responding to the Dutchess County facility.

Blaise Gomez

Sep 28, 2023, 8:07 PM

Updated 291 days ago

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The family of a Green Haven inmate who died last week just days before he was scheduled to be released is speaking exclusively to News 12 about their concerns over his death and the investigation.
Russell McGee was allegedly found unresponsive in his cell Sept. 17 during a monthslong EMS crisis, with delayed or no ambulances responding to the Dutchess County facility.
The 41-year-old was going to be released Sept. 20 after serving seven years behind bars on drug and assault charges, according to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
“He had been talking about getting out and coming home, but it just didn’t happen,” says his sister, Sankofa Ra.
Ra says other inmates told her McGee was sleeping and snoring loudly when a correction officer checked on him during the 10 p.m. rounds.
“Everyone could hear his body fall to the ground,” says Ra. “They could see his body was twitching, like shaking. I’m told they gave him two shots of Narcan, but they said he didn’t respond.”
Prison sources tell News 12 an ambulance arrived 30 minutes after McGee was found and that he died of an apparent drug overdose – something his sister doesn’t believe.
“It just doesn’t make any sense. He was happy and excited about being released,” says Ra.
It's not known if the facility's ambulance problems played a role in McGee's death.
State police say there's no sign of foul play, but McGee’s sister claims he had a bandage on his head at the morgue.
“He’s a poor, African American male, and it happens way to often for those who are incarcerated and don’t have the resources to get the justice that they deserve.”
McGee’s autopsy results are pending.
A representative for DOCCS says they can’t comment on McGee’s death since it’s an ongoing investigation.


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