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City Council To Discuss Baltimore Police Custody Death And Delays In The Case

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Two men in two separate incidents die in police custody in Baltimore. Questions surrounding the cases have the department under fire.

Wednesday night, the City Council is holding a hearing on one of the incidents.

Monique Griego has more on what will be discussed.

The resolution has to do with the death of Tyrone West. The City Council will be asking questions about delays in the investigation and the release of information. It all comes one day after details of his autopsy were finally made public.

Five months after Tyrone West, 44, died while in police custody during a traffic stop, the State’s Attorney released the first details of his autopsy. In a statement, he said: “The report cited a heart problem and dehydration as factors in West’s death.”

“I’m not feeling comfortable with the results,” said Tessa Hill-Aston, NAACP Baltimore City.

Hill-Aston, president of the NAACP in Baltimore, is working with West’s family to find out exactly what happened.

Police say West resisted arrest, and while being restrained, became unresponsive. Witnesses captured the aftermath of the confrontation on cell phone video — several have claimed officers beat West to death.

According to West’s family, he had no prior health problems. They do not believe the results clear police of wrongdoing.

“Oh, he had a heart problem and he was dehydrated,” said Hill-Aston. “I bet you half the people walking up and down the street right now are dehydrated. Are they going to drop dead? I don’t think so.”

At Wednesday night’s meeting, City Council members will discuss delays in the West case. It comes one day after the police commissioner announced changes in these types of investigations because of another high-profile case.

“Focus on making sure that this organization is transparent. Making sure that this organization is open and that we get better and better,” Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said.

In September 2012, Anthony Anderson, 46, died while in police custody. Witnesses reported seeing officers severely beat and kick him. His death was ruled a homicide, but this week, an independent committee affirmed the State’s Attorney’s findings that police did not act criminally.

But an attorney for Anderson’s family feels the review was flawed from the start.

“If you start with a faulty or compromised investigation, I don’t care what committee you look to to give you advice on how to do things differently; the results are going to be the same,” said J. Wyndal Gordon, Anderson family attorney.

As far as the West case, the State’s Attorney’s Office still has to decide whether any of the eight officers involved will face criminal charges.

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