SC mental hospital patient died at bottom of dogpile

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – A patient at a state mental hospital in South Carolina has died after being at the bottom of a dogpile of several employees – something specifically prohibited in their training.

The State newspaper reports three of the 13 employees involved in the death of 35-year-old William Avant in January had not been through training on physically restraining patients. His death hadn’t been previously reported.

Video of the incident showed the employees on top of Avant at a Columbia mental hospital for four minutes. His face was blue and he was unresponsive when they got up.

The State Law Enforcement Division investigated Avant’s death but did not press charges.

The newspaper reports agents and the Department of Mental Health refused to release records. They cited patient privacy laws even though Avant died in the government’s care.

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