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Man dies in Markham courthouse lockup

Dante Fleming | Cook County Sheriff's Office

A 35-year-old man who was arrested Friday on a warrant for trespassing at Metra stop died while in custody overnight at the Cook County Court branch in South Suburban Markham.

Dante Fleming was found dead early Saturday in a cell at the Markham lockup, said Cara Smith, director of policy for Sheriff Tom Dart. Fleming, who was alone in the lockup, appeared to have “passed away in his sleep,” Smith said.

The Illinois State Police are investigating the death, Smith said, noting that the ISP’s Public Integrity Task Force investigates all deaths of jail detainees.

ISP spokesman Matt Boerwinkle said Fleming had been alone in a holding cell, and was found unresponsive early Saturday. The ISP investigation into Fleming’s death still is pending, an autopsy is pending by the Cook County Medical Examiner.

Fleming had been arrested by Metra Police at a South Side train stop on Friday, on a pending warrant for failure to appear at a court hearing on a trespassing charge, Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile said. Fleming went peacefully with the Metra officers and reported no illness or injuries to them, Reile said.

A video camera was on inside the cell for the duration Fleming was locked up, and showed no one entering or exiting the cell, Smith said.

Last year, a female in custody in a courtroom lockup at the Markham court house was raped by two male defendants who had been mistakenly placed in the cell with her by Sheriff’s officers. County officials this year agreed to settle a lawsuit with the victim for $3.25 million, and an internal report by the Sheriff’s office has recommended firing nine sheriff’s officers, including five supervisors, over miscues that led to the assault.