Joliet police sergeant who leaked video of man's death in custody placed on desk duty

A Joliet police sergeant was placed on administrative duty after sharing video of a man who died in custody with outside investigators.

Eric Lurry Jr., 37, was taken into custody in January for drug-related charges, according to Joliet police. Officers found drugs hidden in his mouth, and he suffered a medical emergency. He later died at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

The Will County coroner’s office ruled his death an accident due to heroin, fentanyl and cocaine intoxication, saying that Lurry had over 10 times the lethal dosage of the combined drugs in his system.

The Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force was assigned to investigate the incident following Lurry’s death, Police Chief Alan Roechner said in a statement.

During an audit, Joliet police learned Sgt. Javier Esqueda gained unauthorized access to a video from the task force’s investigation and shared it with CBS2.

The video shows officers shaking Lurry, hitting him and holding his nose. He lies still as the two officers continue to hold him in place. At one point, an officer puts his baton in Lurry’s mouth. A flashlight is shined in his face, and he eventually slumps over.

Esqueda was placed on administrative duty July 6 as a criminal and internal investigation was launched, the statement said.

“I cannot speak on any of the internal affairs investigations until they are completed, however I have to condemn in the strongest terms the false narrative that has been put out regarding that there was not an outside investigation done, video evidence was withheld and that the Joliet Police Department was covering up evidence,” Roechner said.