A group of more than 20 community organizations wants the City of Greensboro to review what happened to a man who died in police custody. The family of Marcus Deon Smith says a restraining method used by the officers contributed to his death.
On September 8th Greensboro Police officers responded to an incident on North Church Street. A police report describes Smith as disoriented and suicidal, and running in and out of traffic. And they say, when officers attempted to transport him for mental evaluation, he became combative and collapsed.
Smith was taken to a hospital for further treatment where he died about an hour later.
But his family and their attorney viewed body camera footage of the incident. They allege Smith stopped breathing after he was held in what they call a "hogtie restraint." His family members joined several groups during a press conference Wednesday at the Beloved Community Center to talk about their concerns.
Marcus Hyde with the Homeless Union of Greensboro says they've sent a signed letter to city council asking members to review the footage and take whatever action they feel is necessary.
“We want to make sure that the police don't go out and hogtie another individual who is just walking down the street or perhaps is in the throws of a mental health crisis," he says. "Nobody in this community deserves to be treated like an animal.”
The city of Greensboro sent a news release out responding to the in-custody death of Marcus Deon Smith. It says "The Guilford County District Attorney's office forwarded a letter to the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) indicating, based on the information collected by the State Bureau of Investigations (SBI), pending its final report, there was no criminal liability with the police actions concerning this incident. The district attorney's office states the officers acted at all times within the scope of their duties and with justification under all applicable laws.
The city also says "The SBI final report is not complete, but the position of the district attorney's office is there is sufficient evidence to support its decision related to the officers' actions. A GPD internal review was completed and no violations of policy were found."
"The loss of any member of the community is unfortunate. The City of Greensboro has a process for residents to bring concerns to the Greensboro Criminal Justice Advisory Commission. The commission is tasked with reviewing criminal justice issues and working closely with the Greensboro Police Department," says city officials in the news release.
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*Editor's Note: This story has been updated with information from the city of Greensboro.