Reporting Kai Jackson
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A man dies while in police custody in Northeast Baltimore. Officers say he resisted arrest, then had a medical emergency.
But witnesses at the scene have a different account.
Kai Jackson has details.
It’s a tale of two stories. City police are giving a version of what sounds like an unfortunate death in police custody. But an apparent witness believes police used excessive force against the man who died.
It started at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night in the 1400 block of Kitmore Road.
Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez tells WJZ officers tried to stop a vehicle on a traffic violation.
During that stop, police say a person interfered with the officers’ ability to investigate possible possession of narcotics.
A struggle ensued at some point, and two officers involved sent out three requests for help.
As additional officers arrived, they encountered a man struggling with police.
They eventually took the man into custody.
“Sometime after taking him into custody, the officers became aware that the individual was in what they believed was a medical distress,” Rodriguez said. “The officers immediately began life saving measures and requested the response of the ambulance.”
“They made him get down on the ground again. They were hitting him with batons, they were kicking him in his head, they were kicking him in his back,” a witness said.
That witness took video tape of the incident. She is going to provide that information to WJZ just as soon as she can.
The homicide unit is investigating the death of the man, who was eventually taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead.
The internal affairs department is also investigating the procedures and process of the officers involved, leading up to and including the death of the victim.
Police have not identified the man.