Friday, February 6, 2004

Diabetic dies in police handcuffs

Officers said they restrained him for EMTs to start an IV

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

SILVERTON - Hamilton County authorities are investigating the death of a diabetic man who stopped breathing after police handcuffed him so emergency workers could start giving him medical help.

Silverton police, along with Deer Park/Silverton firefighters, were called to a Hamilton County mental health group home Saturday night on a report of a combative diabetic man, Police Chief Mike Daudistel said Thursday.

Officers and emergency medical workers arrived about the same time. Police officers used two sets of handcuffs to restrain Claude Brown, 45, so EMTs could start an IV. Brown weighed about 360 pounds, Daudistel said.

"While they were working on him, he quit breathing,'' the chief said. "Why he quit breathing, I don't know.''

Officers briefly struggled with Brown, but did not use Mace or batons, Daudistel said.

The chief said he does not think the two police officers did anything wrong, but he asked the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department to investigate the death.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Barnett said he could not discuss the ongoing investigation.

The Hamilton County coroner is awaiting results from toxicology tests to determine the cause of Brown's death.

Daudistel said the East Gatewood home is for adults suffering from mental health problems. Daudistel said he did not know if Brown was diagnosed with a mental illness.

Authorities at the home did not tell police whether Brown may have been taking any medication. County mental health officials could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.


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