The U.S. District Attorney for Manhattan, New York is investigating a second death caused by restraining tactics used by city police, authorities said on Friday.
New York authorities are looking into the death of Ronald Singleton, 45, who died in police custody on July 13, only four days before another man died from a chokehold used on him by police on Staten Island.
In a statement, the medical examiner’s office declared Singleton’s death a homicide and said that actions by the police were the catalyst for the death. The death was caused by “physical restraint by police during excited delirium due to acute phencyclidine (PCP) intoxication,” examiner’s office spokeswoman Julie Bolcer said.
Singleton was first confronted by police after a taxi driver flagged them down because his passenger was acting strangely. The police report notes that the driver said that Singleton was “acting overly irate and irrational, cursing and screaming and causing alarm.”
It wasn’t long before Singleton began to become combative with the police officer on the scene. The officer quickly called for backup.
After officers from the NYPD Emergency Service Unit arrived they put Singleton in what is termed a “protective body wrap.” But as Singleton was being transported to a hospital he went into cardiac arrest. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
As the AP reported, police intended to take Singleton for a psychiatric evaluation at a hospital “under the police department’s protocol for emotionally disturbed people,” but he went into cardiac arrest being transported.
This is the second death by police restraint tactics ruled as a homicide in New York.
Also in July, 43-year-old Eric Garner was killed by police on Staten Island after they used a chokehold in an attempted to subdue him.
In that case, the medical examiner’s office said that the police chokehold was the immediate cause of his death but added that the man’s acute and chronic bronchial asthma, obesity, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease were contributing factors.
Responding the Garner’s death, Pat Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said, “Police officers don’t start their days expecting or wanting something like this to occur in the performance of their duties,” adding, “We believe, however, that if he had not resisted the lawful order of the police officers placing him under arrest, this tragedy would not have occurred.”
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