The July death of a man who clashed with New York police while he was being taken into custody in Manhattan has been declared a homicide, stated the New York medical examiner’s office. Ronald Singleton, age 45, died while he was in police custody last month. It was July 13, four days before another man over in Staten Island died after police had placed him in a choke hold. That case has brought national outrage. The death on Staten Island has also been ruled a homicide, and is under investigation at the present time.
In a statement that was released on Friday and given by one of the medical examiner’s spokespeople, the office stated that the cause of death in the Singleton case was declared homicide and it was caused by the “physical restraint by police during excited delirium due to acute phencyclidine or PCP intoxication.”
Singleton, an African-American, was placed in police custody after a cab driver waved down a police officer close by the St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan. The taxi driver claimed his passenger was “acting irrational and overly irate, screaming and cursing and causing alarm,” according to the police press release.
Singleton allegedly got out of the cab and became aggressive with the police officer on scene and attempted to fight with him. The officer called for backup and several other law enforcement officials responded along with numerous members of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit. They placed Singleton in a protective body wrap, according to the police statement. Paramedics were taking Singleton to a nearby hospital when he went into cardiac arrest and he was pronounced dead when he arrived at the medical facility.
The NYPD stated that it was cooperating with the Manhattan district attorney’s office investigation of Singleton’s demise. The medical examiner’s office added that other factors such as atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and obesity also contributed to the death of Singleton.
This case was overlooked by the main stream media, unlike the death of Eric Garner which happened four days later. Garner died after he was placed in a choke hold by an NYPD officer while he was in the process of being detained for illegally selling cigarettes.
Garner’s death ignited protests and calls for federal civil rights charges to be placed against the police officer who put Garner, age 43 in an illegal choke hold. A video that was taken by a cell phone of the event showed Garner waving both of his hands around in the air and telling the police not to touch him. It was only seconds later that an officer standing behind Garner grabbed him and put him in the choke hold. The New York officer then pulled the man to the sidewalk and rolled him over on to his stomach.
Garner is repeatedly heard saying that he cannot breathe while his cries are stifled into the pavement. The cause of his death was determined to be the compression of his neck or choke hold, chest compression and being in prone position during physical restraint by the police,” stated the spokesperson. This death was declared a homicide as well.
Garner’s demise happened only weeks before teenager Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9. Each of these cases have powered protests and also shoved into the limelight the issue of law enforcement’s use of deadly force against individuals who are not armed. The July death of Singleton, who clashed with New York police while he was being taken into custody in Manhattan, has been declared a homicide.
By Kimberly Ruble