Police in Greensboro, North Carolina released body cam footage showing officers restraining a black man who appeared out of control while under the influence of alcohol, cocaine, and ecstasy before gradually losing consciousness and eventually dying.
The video was released on Friday.
It shows officers putting Marcus Deon Smith, 38, in a patrol car just after midnight on Sept. 8 after finding him suicidal, disoriented and running through traffic, the News & Record of Greensboro reported.
Emergency personnel arrived about five minutes after officers reached the scene, police said.
Marcus Deon Smith, 38, is seen above being restrained by Greensboro, North Carolina police officers at around 12:40am on September 8
The body cam footage was released showing how officers restrained Smith, who is seen on the ground as he is being handcuffed
The autopsy report said Smith, a father of three, became agitated after police placed him in a patrol car.
They opened the door and Smith got out, the report said.
‘Multiple officers then placed him prone on the ground. His hands were then cuffed behind his back, and a strap was placed on his ankles to secure them to the handcuffs behind his back,’ the report said.
‘No chokeholds or conducted electrical weapons were applied. During this process, the decedent was grunting loudly, then more quietly.
‘After restraints were applied, officers checked on him and found that he was unresponsive (not breathing, but with a pulse),’ the report said.
The footage shows Smith running around aimlessly in and out of traffic. An officer is seen opening the back door to a police car. Smith is seen getting in without any handcuffs
When Smith was inside, he started to bang on the window of the car – first with his hands. He then started to kick the window
Smith is seen far left in the back seat of the police car while an officer checks in on him
Smith is seen above using his feet to kick the police car window
So police opened the door and let him out of the car. Police say Smith ran into the arms of an officer and then collapsed on to the street
Police said that paramedics who were called to the scene asked officers to place restraints on him so that they could transport him to a hospital for treatment
But paramedics and officers noticed that Smith grew more quieter. One of the emergency personnel on site is seen above checking his pulse
He was taken to a hospital and died an hour later.
The report concluded that Smith died of cardiopulmonary arrest caused by a variety of factors including ‘prone restraint’ as well as a combination of drugs, alcohol and cardiovascular disease.
The city of Greensboro said it’s filing a petition with Guilford County Superior Court to request the release of body-worn camera footage.
‘Due to the multitude of factors that led to tragic circumstances for Mr. Smith … the City of Greensboro believes there is a compelling public interest to share the video,’ the city said in a written statement.
The city of Greensboro said previously that officers followed all procedures in the events before Smith’s death and that the four officers who had been placed on administrative duty are back on their regular patrol duties after the Guilford County District Attorney’s Office concluded they did not violate any policies.
The races of the officers weren’t immediately known, but the body cam footage indicates that most of them were white.
Smith was pronounced dead 40 minutes after the body cam footage was filmed.
The initial incident took place on Church Street in Greensboro, which was very close to where the Greensboro Folk Festival was happening.
The event was attended by large crowds, which necessitate a beefed up police presence.
Smith was first seen by officers running in and out of traffic on Church Street.
The body cam footage shows Smith speaking loudly and incoherently while apparently in a great deal of distress.
Officers then removed restraints from Smith and paramedics loaded him into a stretcher
Police said that at this point a pulse and a breath was found as Smith was being loaded into the ambulance
The image above shows Smith being loaded onto the ambulance by paramedics. He was pronounced dead about 40 minutes later
The first officer to notice Smith called for backup after it became apparent that he would not be able to get him off the street on his own.
A number of other police units arrived and cordoned off a part of the road while Smith is seen running around and unable to control himself.
Smith wanders aimlessly through the street as officers stand by. After about seven minutes, one of the officers opens the back door to a police cruiser.
Smith is seen getting into the car.
The image above shows an undated photo of Marcus Smith
While detaining Smith (left), police used a RIPP Hobble, a device that is used to restrain a suspect’s legs and ankles so as to prevent them from kicking
Smith, a father of three, was said by officers who saw him that night to have been suicidal, but his family denies this
Moments later, paramedics arrive. They and the officers then begin to talk about the best way to get Smith to a hospital.
But while in the back of the police cruiser, Smith becomes extremely agitated.
He hits the window a number of times with his hands and then starts kicking the window.
Officers then decide to let Smith out of the police car. When the door is opened, Smith runs into the arms of an officer and then collapses onto the street.
The officers and the paramedics then decide that Smith needed to be rushed to the hospital. Police have said that the paramedics asked officers to restrain him.
In the body cam footage, officers can be heard trying to calm Smith down.
While they talk to Smith, they restrain him using a RIPP Hobble, which is used to tie a suspect’s feet and legs together so as to prevent them from kicking anything or anyone in their vicinity.
Shortly after the police restrained Smith with the RIPP Hobble, officers rolled Smith onto his side.
They then began to notice he grew quieter, so they checked his pulse.
When it became apparent that Smith’s health was in jeopardy, the officers removed the restraint devices and put him in a stretcher.
Mary Smith, Smith’s mother, said: ‘Being a mother… this is pain I have to endure for the rest of your life’
‘He was tied up like an animal,’ said Kim Suber, Smith’s sister. ‘Have you ever seen a bull riding show where the bull is tied up by his hands and feet? Imaging your loved one taking his last breath with his hands and feet tied behind his back and not under arrest’
Paramedics told officers that they did find a pulse and a breath as they loaded him onto the stretcher and into the back of an ambulance.
Smith was then transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 40 minutes later.
On November 14th, Smith’s family held a news conference during which they accused police of ‘hogtying’ him, according to WGHP-TV.
‘He was tied up like an animal,’ said Kim Suber, Smith’s sister.
‘Have you ever seen a bull riding show where the bull is tied up by his hands and feet?
‘Imagine your loved one taking his last breath with his hands and feet tied behind his back and not under arrest.’
Mary Smith, Smith’s mother, said: ‘Being a mother… this is pain I have to endure for the rest of your life.’
The family demanded that body cam footage be made public. They denied police claims that Smith was suicidal.
‘I knew Marcus was never suicidal. He was my friend, my child,’ Mary Smith said.
‘No human should be treated this way,’ Suber said.
Police said that in light of the incident, they are now reviewing procedures involving use of the RIPP Hobble.