- The Washington Times - Monday, June 30, 2008

The teenager arrested in connection with the death of a Prince George’s County police officer died Sunday morning after being found unconscious in a jail cell, leading to calls for an immediate investigation.

A guard found Ronnie L. White, 19, slumped on the floor of his cell at about 10:30 a.m., said county Department of Corrections officials.

They said that Mr. White was alone in the cell at the Upper Marlboro jail and that a guard saw him alert and sitting on the side of his bunk at 10:15 a.m. However, when guards returned with Mr. White’s lunch at about 10:30 a.m., he was not responsive.

Mr. White was charged with first-degree murder in the death Friday of Cpl. Richard S. Findley. Police say Mr. White struck Cpl. Findley, 39, with a pickup truck while trying to a avoid arrest.

Mr. White, who was with another male inside the vehicle, purportedly rammed Cpl. Findley’s cruiser with his car as he was being boxed in by police in a Laurel apartment complex in the 14700 block of Laurel-Bowie Road. Mr. White then struck Cpl. Findley as he exited his cruiser and dragged him, police said. Mr. White and three others were taken into custody in a door-to-door search a short time later at a nearby apartment complex.

Cpl. Findley died of head injuries at Laurel Regional Hospital.

Cpl. Findley, a 10-year veteran of the county force, had spotted stolen tags and was waiting with other officers for somebody to return to the vehicle.

Mr. White, of the Laurel area in Howard County, was taken Sunday to Prince George’s Hospital after emergency responders at the jail could not revive him or detect a pulse. He was pronounced dead at 11:39 a.m. Mr. White was being held away from the general population.

Mr. White was admitted to the jail 12:24 a.m. Saturday. Correction officials said he was given a medical assessment prior to being put in the cell. Because he was classified as a high-profile offender, Mr. White was housed in a the maximum-security cell and checked every 30 minutes, said Col. Gregory O. Harris, deputy director of operations for the county’s corrections department.

According to court records, Mr. White pleaded guilty in 2007 to illegal possession of a firearm and to a separate drug possession.

Vernon R. Herron, the county’s public safety director, asked the Prince George’s police department to begin an investigation into Mr. White’s death.

Mary Lou McDonough, interim director of the county’s Corrections Department, began an internal investigation.

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