BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Broward County inmate who died this week after testing positive for the new coronavirus had an emergency motion filed for his release prior to his death, Broward County Public Defender Howard Finkelstein confirmed Thursday to Local 10 News.
The inmate was identified as 64-year-old Alan Jerome Pollock, who was arrested March 16 on a charge of violating the terms of his probation.
“The coronavirus global pandemic poses an extremely dangerous threat to the health and safety of all jail populations,” the motion read. “Incarcerated defendants, detention deputies, jail personnel, and multiple stakeholders face a disproportionate risk of fatal infection.”
Finkelstein said the Broward County Public Defender’s Office was aware that Pollock, who is a registered sex offender, was in quarantine before he died Tuesday.
Records show Pollock was convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child under the age of 16 in Orange County in 1998.
He was convicted of failing to register as a sex offender in Broward County in January.
According to the Broward State Attorney’s Office, Pollock was accused of leaving a special program, failing to register his address as a registered sex offender and failing to submit to electronic monitoring.
Prosecutors said Pollock failed to show up to two court hearings before his motion for release was denied.
In a statement, they said they are focused on getting inmates released "as promptly as possible, while ensuring that violent offenders and people who pose a threat to society are not released.”
“Our office has agreed to release offenders who do not pose a threat to public safety and who have no other holds from law enforcement agencies or other jurisdictions,” the Broward State Attorney’s Office said.
According to prosecutors, 366 inmates were released from Broward County jails between March 19 and March 25.
According to Broward Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Gerdy St. Louis, Pollock was hospitalized and being treated for COVID-19 when he died Tuesday night.
“Any death from this dreaded disease is a tragedy,” the Broward State Attorney’s Office said.
Pollock’s official cause of death has yet to be determined by a medical examiner.
“In addition, the Department of Detention Command staff was notified of positive results for three members of our team that dealt directly with the deceased inmate,” St. Louis said. “As per protocol, contact tracing was conducted and the appropriate staff members were notified. Guidance provided by the Florida Department of Health and the CDC are being followed.”
The news comes as controversy has arisen this week over the precautions that are being taken at the Broward Sheriff’s Office amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony held a news conference Tuesday morning, at which time he lashed out at union President Jeff Bell, disputing Bells’ claims that he ignored requests by deputies for more personal protective equipment.
“From the time-frame of Feb. 1 to April 6, we have dispersed over 25,263 N95 masks to our first responders,” he said.
According to the sheriff, 44,773 surgical masks were also dispersed, as well as more than 4,100 bottles of hand sanitizer.
Local 10 News has learned that more than 500 BSO employees have been checked for COVID-19, with 36 people testing positive.
An additional 300 employees are being monitored for coronavirus and 210 have been tested and since returned to work.
Authorities said seven inmates have also tested for the virus and all in-person visitations have ended and have moved to video visitation.
According to the Federation of Public Employees, at least four BSO detention deputies from three different jail facilities have tested positive for the virus.