Man dies after struggle with Berkeley Police

credit: Kaia Diringer Berkeley Police Station

Berkeley Police Department. Photo: Kaia Diringer

Authorities are investigating the death of a man who stopped breathing after a violent struggle with police Tuesday night, officials said.

According to a statement released by the Berkeley Police Department just after 4 p.m., authorities were dispatched to the 2000 block of Allston Way for a mental health evaluation at about 11:50 p.m. Tuesday.

“Upon arrival, uniformed officers spoke with the reporting party and were directed to the 41 year old male subject’s residence nearby,” according to the statement. “During the contact, the subject became increasingly agitated and uncooperative to the officer’s verbal commands and began to scream and violently resist. After struggling with officers they were able to gain control of the subject and place him in restraints. The subject continued to kick and scream at officers.”

Police said that, due to the man’s “large stature,” officers asked the Berkeley Fire Department for a gurney to help transport him “for further evaluation.” Police declined to release additional details about the man’s height or weight.

“While under restraint officers determined the subject was not breathing and immediately began CPR,” according to the statement. The Berkeley Fire Department took the man to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police notified the district attorney’s office, and the case is being investigated by the Detective Division, according to department policy. Also per department policy, the police officers who responded to the call have been placed on administrative leave, said Officer Stephanie Polizziani of the Berkeley Police Department.

Sgt. Patricia Wilson of the coroner’s office said she did not have details on the case. Generally speaking, she said, it would be investigated in the same manner as any death in Alameda County that is considered “unnatural.”

Those types of investigations include consolidating reports from law enforcement agencies, reviewing the medical history, putting together a case file and interviewing witnesses.

“We don’t do anything specific for law enforcement-involved cases,” she said. “We investigate all deaths from the same perspective.”

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m. 

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  • bgal4

    >man’s “large stature,” does this refer to obesity?



  • bgal4

    what are you trying to tell us?

  • soij

    People who aren’t used to strenuous exertion and who are in very bad shape can die if they overdo it. This can happen when fighting the police or when doing Gangam Style at a Christmas party (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4694028/dad-of-three-dies-gangnam.html). The usual conclusions people jump to are 1) drugs, or 2) police misconduct. Maybe he was out of shape and fought too hard. I suppose the coroner will tell us down the road.

  • scotty

    Funny, a violent confrontation with a big man, but they do not mention the 56 times they tazed him.

  • scotty

    Not funny…

  • guest

    “they do not mention the 56 times they tazed him…”

    I realize you did not post this comment, but is BPD prohibited from using these devices?

  • guest

    “…authorities were dispatched to the 2000 block of Allston Way for a mental health evaluation…”

    Do we know if this was only BPD? Were there were actual mental health professionals involved?

  • guest

    *Were actual mental health professionals involved?

  • PragmaticProgressive

    Why not?

  • bgal4

    City Council prohibits tazers, same deal in San Francisco.

  • The only way to have a proper investigation in this kind of death is to have an independent forensic examiner determine the cause of death. There is a conflict of interest when the County coroner does it because they are investigating the death allegedly cause by someone in law enforcement who is a colleague. If an independent forensic examine does the examination and makes a report, people will believe the conclusion. Otherwise, there will always be allegations of a cover-up.

  • So what happened to my comment? You are not really a journalist. You are a quack!

  • Your comment is here.

  • A 41 year old dies while in the custody of police, and among your medically related comments are “People who aren’t used to strenuous exertion and who are in very bad shape can die if they overdo it.” and “Maybe he was out of shape and fought too hard.” You even go so far as to reference a story from another country to support your position. I assume you will continue on like a good minion with the arduous task of explaining away the death of a human being in the hands of the police.

  • Berkeleyfarm

    While I do not know the specifics of this incident, I wanted to make a general comment that someone I know (who is an “actual”, licensed mental health professional) did some time on the “on call” mental health team in Berkeley … she rode out with the cops a lot. If you ever have to call emergency services and think such a professional might be useful in the situation, by all means ask for one.