Man Dies While In Police Custody; Witness Speaks Out
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Frustration and anger in one Northeast Baltimore neighborhood after residents say they watched a group of police officers beat a man to death.
Derek Valcourt has new video of the aftermath of that incident, and what police and neighbors are saying.
Several neighbors tell WJZ they were appalled by what they saw from police. But none of them were willing to talk about it on camera. Some of them say they are just too frightened.
Cell phone video shows the moments after a police confrontation with 44-year-old Tyrone West early Thursday night. On the other side of a tan pickup truck, officers work feverishly, giving CPR to West after he stopped breathing.
It all started with a traffic stop in the 1400-block of Kitmore Road in Northeast Baltimore.
Police say West was in the car and interfered when officers wanted to search for drugs.
“As he was standing on the side of the car, police put him down on the ground, sprayed him with mace and then started to hit him,” a witness said.
That witness, who did not want her face shown, tells WJZ she was one of many neighbors who saw West’s encounter with police.
She says after getting pepper sprayed, West ran from officers, who called for backup and gave chase.
“They were hitting him with batons, they were kicking him in his head, they were kicking him in his back,” she said. “It was excessive. It was really bad to the point where I got upset. I got really upset.”
“Yes, the guy resisted arrest. I agree with that,” she continued. “But at the same time, they still beat him to a point where he couldn’t breathe any longer.”
Court records show West’s criminal background included convictions for resisting arrest, assaults, drug possessions and firearms charges.
WJZ was there Friday as officers spoke to residents in the neighborhood about what happened, promising a full investigation.
Baltimore’s police commissioner and other officers are expected to be walking through that neighborhood again Friday night to talk to the people in the area about what they saw.
Police are asking witnesses to come forward, saying they want to see any pictures or video of the incident people may have captured on their cell phones.