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Black man’s death in police custody probed after release of bodycam video showing him handcuffed, facedown on bar floor

Toledo, Ohio — An Ohio man who was handcuffed and left facedown on the floor of a social club last week has died in police custody, and the officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Police body camera footage released Wednesday shows a Canton police officer responding to a report of an accident and finding Frank Tyson, a 53-year-old East Canton resident, near the bar ‘a neighboring post of American Veterans, or AMVETS.

The accident which occurred around 8 p.m. on April 18 severed an electrical pole. Officer Beau Schoenegge’s body camera footage shows that after a motorist directed police to the bar, a woman opened the door and said, “Please take him out.” ‘Here Now. »

Police grabbed Tyson and he resisted being handcuffed and repeatedly said, “They’re trying to kill me” and “Call the sheriff,” as he was taken to the ground.

This image, taken from Canton police body camera video, shows Frank E. Tyson, 53, on April 18, 2024, in Canton, Ohio. Police said Tyson was arrested after crashing his car into a nearby utility pole. He died after being handcuffed by police.

Canton (Ohio) Police Department via AP

They held him down – including with a knee on his back – and he immediately told the police that he couldn’t breathe. A recent Associated Press investigation found that those words – “I can’t breathe” – had been ignored in other cases of deaths in police custody. That investigation, published in March, found that more than 1,000 people died in a decade after police restrained them by means not intended to be lethal, including prone restraint.

The officers told Tyson that he was fine and that he should calm down and stop fighting because he was face down, cross-legged on the carpet. Police joked with passersby and looked through Tyson’s wallet before realizing he was in a medical crisis.

Five minutes after body camera footage recorded Tyson saying “I can’t breathe,” one officer asked another if Tyson had calmed down. The other replied, “He might be out.”

Tyson telling police he was unable to breathe echoes previous events the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020. Tyson was black, according to the coroner’s office. The two officers from the cantonal police traffic office who were placed on leave, Schoenegge and Camden Burch, are white, according to the police.

Tyson did not move when a police officer told him to get up and tried to knock him down. They shook him and checked his pulse.

Minutes later, an officer said medics had to “step up” because Tyson was unresponsive and the officer wasn’t sure he could feel his pulse. Officers began CPR.

The county police report on Tyson’s death, released Friday, states that “shortly after securing him,” officers “recognized that Tyson was unresponsive” and that CPR had been performed. Doses of Narcan were also administered before medics arrived. Tyson was pronounced dead at the hospital less than an hour later.

Chief Investigator Harry Campbell of the Stark County Coroner’s Office said Thursday that an autopsy was performed earlier in the week and Tyson’s remains were transferred to a funeral home.

His niece, Jasmine Tyson, called the video “nonsense” in an interview with WEWS-TV in Cleveland. “It seemed like forever until they finally got him under control,” Jasmine Tyson said.

Frank Tyson was released from state prison on April 6 after serving 24 years in a kidnapping and robbery case and was almost immediately declared a post-release control violator for failing to appear at a parole officer, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. .

A member of the Tyson family reached by phone Thursday declined immediate comment.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office of Criminal Investigation said in a statement Thursday that its investigation would not determine whether force was justified and that the prosecutor or a grand jury would decide whether charges related to the use of force were justified.

“The BCI investigation remains active and ongoing,” he said. “Once the BCI investigation is complete, it will be referred to the Stark County Prosecutor’s Office.”

Township Mayor William V. Sherer II personally expressed his condolences to Frank Tyson’s family.

“As we navigate this difficult time, my goal is to be as transparent as possible with the community,” Sherer said in a statement released Wednesday.

Since the mid-1990s, the US Department of Justice has recommended that police officers roll over suspects as soon as they are handcuffed, due to the risk of positional asphyxiation.

Many police experts agree that a person can stop breathing if they are held on the chest for too long or carry too much weight, because this can compress the lungs and put pressure on the heart. But when done correctly, putting someone on their stomach does not automatically put their life in danger.

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