December 6, 2021

Tupelo police detail events leading to in-custody death

Therese Apel

Tupelo Police Department

The Tupelo Police Department released a timeline Monday of an in-custody death after a call of a man trashing a hotel room.

According to TPD, around 7:37 p.m., police respondeed to the Motel 6 on East Main on the call of a man damaging a room there. A release on their Facebook said during the interaction with officers on that call, the man became unresponsive, and later died at North Mississippi Medical Center.

“We are still in the early stages of this investigation and our understanding of the incident may change as additional evidence is collected, analyzed, and reviewed,” said the release.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is now handling the case.

Based on body cameras, TPD released a list of events leading up to the death.

07:41:00 pm: Upon initial arrival first officer observed the Motel manager attempting to open a room door and a male subject could be seen through the window lying on floor blocking the door.
07:46:00 pm: Back up officer arrived on scene.
07:47:40 pm: Motel Manager gives permission to breach door.
07:48:09 pm: Entry was made into the room and the male was detained after a short struggle where subject kicked at officers and was held prone on his stomach by officers as they attempted to pull his hands behind his back for handcuffing.
07:49:26 pm: Handcuffing behind back complete.
07:50:09 pm: Officers attempted to place subject in patrol car.
07:51:54 pm: Subject will not cooperate so he is placed on ground in sitting position leaning on patrol car and medics are called.
07:52:57 pm: Subject has calmed down and officers again try to place him in the patrol car
07:53:20 pm: Officers finish placing subject in patrol car lying on his back across seat.
07:57:08 pm: Officers ask E911 for medics estimated time of arrival.
07:57:15 pm: E911 advised officers that their request was in the “que” but that no medics were in route yet.
07:58:30 pm: Offices have noticed subject has lost consciousness and radio E911 to “step up” response
and that there is a possible overdose.
07:59:08 pm: Officers remove subject from vehicle and place him flat on ground on his back.
07:59:43 pm: Officers administer first dose of Narcan.
08:00:00 pm: Officers began chest compressions.
08:03:20 pm: Officers apply Automatic External Defibrillator to subject and continue chest compressions as directed.
08:06:23 pm: Tupelo Fire Department arrives and begins first aid.
08:07:51 pm: Tupelo Fire Department administers the second dose of Narcan
08:10:38 pm: EMS arrives and subject is placed on gurney for transport to ER.
At approximately 08:50 pm Tupelo Officers followed up on subjects’ condition with NMMC ER and emergency care was still being given.
At approximately 10:00 pm TPD was advised that the subject had died. Upon learning of a death TPD asked that the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) be contacted to review the facts and circumstances surrounding this incident.

“As stated above TPD conducts detailed investigations of these type incidents. We can release that the only force that was used on the subject was that force necessary to stop his kicking and to pull his hands behind his back, primarily holding him down with officer’s body weight while handcuffing was completed,” the release stated. “No holds or tactics were used on or around his head or neck. This timeline and update is being released to maintain TPD’s pledge of transparency with our community. Any additional information will be released when appropriate either by MBI or TPD.”

“I have great confidence in the actions of our officers as well as deep respect for the trust that our community puts in our department. Immediately upon learning of this incident I asked that an outside agency review the situation,” said Chief Jackie Clayton. “It is my hope that the release of this information and time line will help the community understand the events as we understand them at this time. The tragedy of this incident is not lost on any us and I extend my condolences to the family and friends of the man who died.”

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