50. FDLE investigates man's hanging in Edgewater PD cell

Top 100 Local Stories of 2014 in Central Florida / Headline Surfer®
Ricky Walls hanged himelf in Edgewater PD cell in 2014 / Headline Surfer®Photo for Headline Surfer® /
Ricky Walls was arrested on charges of threatening his family with a knife when he was taken into custody by Edgewater police on Nov. 18. He is shown in his booking mug shortly before he hanged himself in a cell.

EDGEWATER, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement a called in to investigate why Edgewater cops did not take away the belt worn by a 51-year-old man who used it to hang himself while in their custody in November.

Rickey Walls was arrested just after 1 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, after threatening family members with a knife in his Edgewater home, according to an Edgewater PD report.

Walls was placed in a holding cell, pending transport to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach when he apparently hanged himself with his own belt.

It's standard police procedure for cops to take away personal items like belts and shoe laces because of the obvious danger they pose. 

Edgewater cops declined comment as to why this wasn't done in the case of Rickey Walls, citing the FDLE investigation after a press release was emailed to HeadlineSurfer.com and other Central Florida media outlets describing the incident.

Rickey Walls was placed in a holding cell pending transport to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach when he apparently hanged himself with his own belt. It's standard police procedure for cops to take away personal items like belts and shoe laces because of the obvious danger they pose. Edgewater cops declined comment as to why this wasn't done in the case of Rickey Walls, citing the FDLE investigation after a press release was emailed to HeadlineSurfer.com and other Central Florida media outlets describing the incident.

The circumstances that led to Wall's suicide by hanging while in the custody of Edgewater cops comes in at No. 50 in the HeadlineSurfer.com countdown of the top 100 local stories of 2014.

Editor's Note:
UPDATE: The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated Rickey Walls' death and found that the officer who placed him in the holding cell after his arrest violated police policy by not removing Walls' belt beforehand. As a result of the FDLE probe that was completed in March 2015, the Edgewater cop, identified as Steven Hirsch (who has been with the Edgewater PD since 2012), was suspended without pay for two weeks. He has since served the suspension, according to FDLE and Edgewater official who now consider the matter closed.
 
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.