MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Department of Corrections Commissioner Paul Schnell says his office has taken a closer look at the 2018 death of a Beltrami County Jail inmate.

Hardel Sherrell died on Sept. 4, 2018 after county officials say he collapsed and became unresponsive due to a medical condition. He was being temporarily detained at the jail at the time of his death.

“Our recent re-review of Hardel Sherrell’s death uncovered longstanding and problematic processes that led to a failure to uncover the truth about what occurred during Mr. Sherrell’s nine-day incarceration,” Schnell said.

Schnell says his department was pushed by Sherrell’s mother, Del Shea Perry, to look further into her son’s death.

(credit: Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office)

“It shouldn’t take a mother’s determination for the truth to come to light,” Schnell said.

Commissioner Schnell did not elaborate on what was yielded from the latest investigation into Sherrell’s death.

“The DOC is committed to the truth. We will be transparent. We will be thorough. And we will work to earn Minnesotans’ trust that we are doing it right,” he said.

Schnell says the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is assisting the DOC with referring the investigation to an “independent law enforcement agency” to explore the possibility of criminal charges. He has also ordered a review of deaths that have occurred in Minnesota jails within the last five years.

Sherrell had a criminal history that included a felony domestic abuse conviction, and charges of malicious punishment of a child in Dakota County.

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