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GREENSBORO NC - The city released officer body-camera footage Friday night of an arrest that an autopsy said played a role in Marcus Deon Smith’s death while in police custody in September.
And the Greensboro Police Department is changing how it applies the device used during Smith’s arrest that family members said left him “hogtied” on the ground.
Smith, 38, died of cardiopulmonary arrest caused by a variety of factors including “prone restraint” at the hands of police as well as a combination of drugs, alcohol and cardiovascular disease, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said in an autopsy released Friday that also ruled Smith’s death a homicide.
The city also said officials continue “to review the initial findings of the Medical Examiner’s report. Chief Scott has elected to modify the application of the RIPP Hobble device used to restrain individuals, while police continue to review the use of this method of restraint.”
Police said in a news release in September that officers found Smith suicidal and disoriented, running in and out of traffic in the 100 block of North Church Street at 12:42 a.m. Sept. 8. EMS arrived about five minutes after officers, police said in the release.
Medical examiners said in the autopsy report that police placed Smith in a patrol car, where he became agitated. They opened the door and Smith got out of the car.
“Multiple officers then placed him prone on the ground. His hands were then cuffed behind his back, and a strap was placed on his ankles to secure them to the handcuffs behind his back. No chokeholds or conducted electrical weapons were applied. During this process, the decedent was grunting loudly, then more quietly.
“After restraints were applied, officers checked on him and found that he was unresponsive (not breathing, but with a pulse),” according to the autopsy report.
Smith was taken to a hospital for further treatment and died about an hour later, according to police.