Max Graciaā€™s Aug. 6, 2015, arrest
WESH screenshot

In a case shamefully similar to thatĀ of Gynnya McMillan, who died at a Kentucky juvenile detention center, and Jason Echeverrias, who perished at Rikers Island jail in New York City, yet another young personĀ is dead because of gross correctional indifference. This time a young man in a Florida jail died of an infection from a police dog bite after officers at the jail did not take his claims of sickness seriously.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a police dog bit Max Gracia, 22, during an Aug. 6, 2015, arrest during which he was charged with armed robbery and resisting arrest. According to a police surveillance video, as Gracia was running away, a police dog bit and held his leg for at least three minutes before Gracia was able to get away from the animal and jump into a lake with open wounds. He was later captured by police boat and taken to jail.

Days later, a nurse told county jail officials that Gracia was ā€œfaking or exaggerating his medical condition and inability to get upā€ in an ā€œimplicit refusal for medication.ā€

Officers ordered Gracia to get up so that they could move to a different cell with a camera to ā€œbetter supervise him,ā€ but a supervisor later called for him to be punished because, she said, he was lying on the ground and ā€œgroaning in a lethargic mannerā€ instead of moving to the new cell.

GraciaĀ died in a hospital the next morning.

An autopsy confirmed that the dog bites caused an E. coli infection and then septic shock. The medical examiner ruled Graciasā€™ death a homicide.


ā€œHeā€™s screaming, heā€™s crying, other inmates are saying this guy needs help, and nobody stood up. Nobody did anything except ignore his cries of help,ā€ family lawyer Mark Nejame said.

ā€œThey killed my son. They could have just taken him out back and gunned him down,ā€ his mother, Willine Gracia, told WESH. ā€œThey allowed my son to lay there, torture, suffer and die.ā€


Nejame is filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family.

Read more at the Orlando Sentinel and WESH.