Chilling audio has been released on which a Bronx man’s final moments can be heard while New York State cops ignore his pleas for life.
Sometime between Andrew Kearse’s arrest and the three mile ride to the police station, officers say, he complained of dizziness and difficulty breathing, and lost consciousness. He was later pronounced dead.
What exactly caused 40-year-old’s Kearse’s death last May and how quickly Schenectady police called for help are among the issues New York’s attorney general’s office is now investigating.
His wife is accusing officers of ignoring the Bronx man’s pleas until it was too late.
In an audio recording that was released on Wednesday, he is heard telling cops ‘I can’t breathe’ before he died. The audio further strengthens the case against the police who are accused of being negligent.
Scroll down to hear the audio…
Andrew Kearse complained of dizziness and difficulty breathing while in the custody of Schenectady, New York police after a foot chase on May 11 2017. He died later that day
Kearse repeatedly asked for help as a Schenectady police officer ignored his pleas according to audio obtained by BuzzFeed which was lifted from a police dash cam video.
‘Please, please sir,’ Kearse cried he struggled to catch his breath. ‘I can’t breathe! Please! Sir! Yo!’
‘Please, please … Officer!’ the suspect shouts at one point.
Kearse, who was freed April 26 from a two-year stint in prison for stealing credit cards and electronics from a car, was in Schenectady visiting on May 11 when he was pulled over for driving erratically.
He parked and took off. Why exactly the Kearse ran from police is unclear, but he’d failed to report to his parole officer after his release and an ‘absconder’ warrant had been issued for his arrest, according to correction records.
Kearse led Schenectady police on a foot chase when stopped for a traffic violation. He then complained of dizziness and difficulty breathing before losing consciousness in police custody. His widow, Angelique Negroni-Kearse, 36, is pictured, left
As Kearse begged the arresting officers to get him help, one of the cops sarcastically made reference to Kearse’s decision to flee.
‘Is it hot?’ one of the cops inquires. ‘You think it might have to do with you running from police? You probably shouldn’t run next time.’
A little later on the audio tape as the police drove with Kearse in the back seat he pleads for help once again.
‘Excuse me, sir?’ asked Kearse.
‘What?’ the cop replied.
‘Officer, officer please,’ the Kearse continued.
‘Please what?’ the cop responded.
‘Come here,’ Kearse asked.
‘What do you want?’ the cop answered.
‘Give me some air, I really can’t breathe officer … officer,’ said Kearse.
Kearse’s widow Angelique Negroni-Kearse filed a notice of claim announcing her intention to file a $25 million lawsuit against the upstate police.
Angelique Negroni-Kearse, left, recorded the audio on her phone during a meeting with prosecutors in January from the New York Attorney General’s office
The court papers charged that Kearse, the father of nine children, died despite his ‘repeated and numerous complaints of difficulty breathing and dizziness.’
He was unconscious when he arrived at the station.
‘Officers themselves were judge, jury and executioner for my husband,’ said his widow, who learned of the death from news reports before police contacted her. ‘They did not give him the medical attention he asked for.’
Police said paramedics were immediately called to give treatment when he arrived at the station, and Kearse was transported to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
But Kearse’s friend Susan Perry who was at the station when Kearse arrived said the cops waited about 15 minutes before getting emergency help because they thought he was faking it. She called to him, but he didn’t answer.
‘Two police officers were dragging him by his arms like an animal,’ she told reporters. ‘And he was laying on the ground motionless.’
Angelique Negroni-Kearse, 36, left, managed to obtain audio of Kearse’s arrest. It’s the first time the audio has been made public
The Schenectady county medical examiner hasn’t publicly released a cause of death. Kearse was black; police wouldn’t say how many officers were involved or give their races.
A spokesperson for the Schenectady Police told BuzzFeed News: ‘I cannot comment on anything involving the Andrew Kearse case. It has to come from the New York Attorney General’s office.’
The Schenectady Police Benevolent Association did not respond to requests to comment.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office opened an investigation into the death with its Special Investigation and Prosecution Unit
Our investigation into Mr. Kearse’s death is ongoing and has involved a series of investigative steps including extensive medical testing and analysis (including by an independent cardiologist), interviews with multiple witnesses, and audio and video enhancement,’ Amy Spitalnick, spokesperson for the attorney general, said in a statement.
New York Attorney General office has opened an investigation into Kearse’s, death with its Special Investigation and Prosecution Unit
‘As in all cases investigated by our Special Investigations and Prosecutions Unit, we are committed to conducting an independent, comprehensive, and fair investigation to provide Mr. Kearse’s family and the community with the answers they deserve.’
For activists, Kearse’s death recalled that of Eric Garner, who cried ‘I can’t breathe’ during an attempted arrest on New York City’s Staten Island borough in 2014.
Kearse’s cry of ‘I can’t breathe’ recall the death of Eric Garner who said exactly the same during his attempted arrest on Staten Island borough in 2014
‘It’s bigger than Black Lives Matter. It’s bigger than just black people dying. This is human rights. These are people dying at the hands of law enforcement and nothing is happening,’ said Hawk Newsome, of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, who pushed for the attorney general to investigate.
Before prison, Kearse worked as a roofer and doing other construction and odd jobs, and helped Negroni-Kearse, 40, who works as a mail carrier, with their children.
When he got out, he was trying to put his life back together, she said. The two have four young children together. Kearse has five other children, the oldest 18.
‘They don’t understand that daddy’s gone,’ she said, crying. ‘Even when we went to see his grave on Father’s Day, they’re still saying, ‘Why is daddy there?”