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Autopsy: Baltimore Man Died In Police Custody Due To Heart Failure, Dehydration

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)— He was killed in police custody. Now police are releasing information about the death of Tyrone West. A news conference was held Tuesday afternoon.

Derek Valcourt has more.

Tyrone West, 44, died in police custody during a traffic stop in July. Cell phone video shows the moments after his confrontation with police, who say West resisted arrest and went into medical distress during a struggle.

Witnesses told a different story.

“They were hitting him with batons; they were kicking him in his head; they were kicking him in his back. It was excessive to the point where I got upset,” a witness said.

In all, eight city officers have been suspended pending the outcome of the death investigation.

West’s outraged family members have held weekly protests demanding answers.

“I feel like it’s a cover up. What are you hiding? They need to come out with the truth,” said one.

In a statement, the State’s Attorney’s Office said autopsy results show West’s death was “caused from cardiac arrhythmia due to cardiac conduction system abnormality, complicated by dehydration during police restraint. The manner of death could not be determined because of an inability to determine the absolute relative contribution of each of the described factors.”

Attorney A. Dwight Pettit represents West’s family.

“I see that as a lot of mumbo-jumbo basically, which is designed to protect and excuse the police department of Baltimore City for its malicious and vicious and, in my opinion, criminal conduct,” Pettit said.

The officers aren’t in the clear yet. The State’s Attorney’s Office says they are still conducting their own review of the case to determine if the officers should face criminal charges.

West’s family attorney says they will be pursuing a civil lawsuit in the case.

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