‘Suspicious’ man dies after being taken to ground, handcuffed, Fayetteville police say

Cumberland County News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Fayetteville police released more information Thursday morning regarding an in-custody death that occurred on Ramsey Street.

According to police, officers responded to the 800-block of E. Orange Street at 12:23 a.m. “in reference to reports of a suspicious male that was going door to door acting strange and causing a disturbance.”

The man left the scene before officers got there and was later seen on Ramsey Street near Webb Street by a Cumberland County Deputy Sheriff who was driving by the area, police said.

The deputy saw the man jumping on the hood of a vehicle and he stopped to investigate, according to officials. Fayetteville police officers arrived on scene shortly after and assisted the deputy with the investigation.

“Once contact was made, the subject became aggressive. He began to beat on the hood of the Deputy Sheriff’s marked patrol car, and refused to obey commands,” police said in a news release. “In an attempt to take him into custody, he was taken to the ground where he was handcuffed and secured.”

After the man was taken to the ground and handcuffed, “officers noticed that the subject was no longer breathing. Officers immediately began administering CPR and summoned emergency medical personnel to the scene.”

The police department’s homicide unit, as well as the State Bureau of Investigation, are investigating the incident.

The SBI is conducting the investigation.

According to authorities, the officers involved will be put on administrative duty, which is standard procedure in incidents such as this. The police department’s internal affairs unit “will conduct an internal investigation to ensure all departmental policies and procedures were adhered to during the incident.”

Fayetteville Police Chief Gina Hawkins provided more details surrounding the incident at a noon press conference.

“The gentleman was acting …[erraticly]. He was not totally clothed, he was jumping on top of the deputies car, he was making odd sounds and it was not typical behavior,” she said. “My officers were responding, asking ‘Are you OK? Do you need medical attention?’ As the officers were around the vehicle…the gentleman lunged at one of the officers. The gentleman was quickly taken to the ground. Handcuffed within thirty seconds. Within a minute the officers realized his breathing had changed. They un-handcuffed him and began rescue CPR.”

Hawkins said no pepper spray or Tasers were used on the man, but officers did use two doses of Naloxone. He was taken away by ambulance and later died. Hawkins said the man was never in a patrol vehicle.

Hawkins said they have to wait for tests to find out whether he was on drugs or not. There is dash cam video of the encounter, but the video has not been released.

Police are expected to release the 911 calls related to the incident.

The names of all of those involved in the incident are being withheld pending family notifications, police said.

Anyone with information regarding this death investigation is asked to contact Detective J. Littlejohn with the Fayetteville Police Department at (910) 818-3468, or the SBI, or Fayetteville / Cumberland County Crimestoppers at (910) 483-TIPS (8477). Crimestoppers information can also be submitted electronically, by visiting http://fay-nccrimestoppers.org and completing the anonymous online tip sheet.

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