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Family of Man Who Died in Sacramento Police Wagon Speaks Out

SACRAMENTO -- Another family has unanswered questions about why their loved one is dead and what Sacramento police had to do with it.

"I can just see his smile right now... best brother I could ask for," said Brionne Mays, thinking back to speaking to his brother Brandon Smith Wednesday.

"Did Smith talk about his plans for the day?," FOX40 asked Mays.

"I know he just had work," he responded.

That was the last word Mays had from his big brother on what no one could've guessed would be the last day of his life.

They spoke by phone before Sacramento police say 30-year-old Smith died in their custody.

"Unreal," said Mays.

The unreal chain of events leading up to his brother's death all started around 1:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, Smith was handcuffed and laying on the floor of the Detoxification Center run by Volunteers of America on the grounds of the Sacramento County Sheriff's work release facility.

Parole agents with the California Department of Corrections stopped a city officer who happened to be there with a patrol wagon to see if he could transport Smith to jail for them.

"It's unique. I mean normally if you have a prisoner that agency transports and books that prisoner. Our officer got a request from one of our law enforcement partners and tried to help them out," said Sgt. Vance Chandler.

The agents followed behind the wagon carrying Smith after getting him up off the floor and helping a conscious Smith get inside.

"He was monitoring his movement on the way there and then noticed a change in his movement," Chandler said.

Police say that was the first indication that anything was wrong.

"The agents were there, helped him administering CPR," said Chandler.

Officers continued trying to save Smith's life before paramedics arrived to rush him to the hospital - still nothing could be done.

"The RN at the hospital says she's never seen a situation like this ever in the history of working there," said Mays.

He says the family hasn't received any answers about what happened.

No one got a call from Smith saying he was in trouble for a parole violation and they're confused as to why he would be at the detox center.

"He's never had an alcohol problem," Mays said.

And when it comes to any health concerns affecting the father of three who was the oldest of 4 brothers?

"Never, never," said Mays.

Mays and his mother met with one Sacramento detective Thursday but say the encounter only added more hurt to an already desperately painful situation.

"They wouldn't give us any answers. They rushed my mom out of the room."

Officers who spoke with FOX40 weren't part of that meeting and thus couldn't comment on it.

Mays says someone needs to offer his family an explanation - soon.

"His three kids have to grow up without a father now due to whatever happened when he was in police custody, that they won't give us the information to. So all we're looking for is closure, what happened," Mays said.

Though relatives deny any alcohol issue that may have helped place Smith in the detoxification center, through a search of public records FOX40 found a no-contest plea to DUI without a license on his record.

His criminal history also shows no-contest pleas to meth possession, domestic violence, assault and battery and assault with a deadly weapon.

As this incident is investigated, city policy requires all police video connected to this case to be released to the public within 30 days.

That same policy also mandates that Smith's relatives see that video first.

Mays and the rest of his family say they're working with Black Lives Matter Sacramento on a rally to bring attention to Smith's case.