Man dies at jail's doorstep
Officers were about to transfer custody

LAWRENCEVILLE - A man recently arrested by Gwinnett police died while in custody of law enforcement officers, authorities said late Wednesday.

The unidentified man, who was described as "combative," was in the process of being transferred from Gwinnett police custody to the Sheriff's Department at the Gwinnett County Jail when officers realized the man was unresponsive after he was taken out of the police vehicle for processing, according to Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Stacey Bourbonnais.

The incident, she said, occurred at the jail's sally port while he was in police custody, noting that inmates are not technically in Sheriff's Department custody until they are inside the facility.

"We never had custody of him," she said late Wednesday, citing that the only involvement sheriff's deputies had in the incident was performing CPR and calling an ambulance. "He was in police department custody when he was brought in."

An incident report - a detailed document produced by police that gives the reason for a suspect's arrest and the events leading up to handing over the individual to sheriff's deputies at the jail - was not available at press time.

The issue is the subject of "two separate investigations" within the Gwinnett County Police Department, Bourbonnais said.

Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Illana Spellman said she was aware of the issue.

"I heard something about that, but I don't have any details," she said via e-mail late Wednesday.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department, headed up by Sheriff Butch Conway, operates the Gwinnett County Jail.