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Indianapolis police officers on leave after man dies during mental health crisis call

IMPD investigating home invasion on SE side
Posted at 2:42 PM, Apr 26, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — A man who was tasered twice by an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer early Monday morning died while in custody, according to the department.

The Marion County Coroner identified the man Tuesday afternoon as Herman Whitfield III, 39.

Police officers initially responded shortly before 4 a.m. for a disturbance inside the home.

Arriving officers made contact with a man and his parents, according to IMPD.

The man's father told police that he was "having psychosis", according to IMPD. Officers on the scene said the man was walking around the home naked and he was sweating and bleeding from his mouth.

Officers on the scene described the man as being roughly 6 feet 2 inches tall and around 280 pounds. The report states that after 10 minutes of negotiations with IMPD, the man allegedly ran at an officer. The officer then deployed his taser, which hit the man in the chest with at least one of the two prongs. The taser was activated twice on the man during the incident.

According to IMPD, the man continued to resist after the taser was used and they eventually placed him in handcuffs.

"Due to the man’s size, officers placed him in two pairs of linked handcuffs, which typically provides more comfort to larger individuals," IMPD stated in their public release.

After securing the scene, medics were called into the home to attend to the man who was not responding to requests to roll over. After checking the man's pulse, IMPD's release states his handcuffs were removed and medics on the scene began administering CPR.

The man was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The officers who were directly involved have been placed on administrative leave, according to IMPD. The department said multiple officers were wearing body cameras that were active during the incident.

The IMPD Critical Incident Response Team went to the scene to conduct a criminal investigation. IMPD Internal Affairs and the Indianapolis-Marion County Forensic Services Agency are also investigating.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office responded and is investigating the nature and cause of death.

The civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board is conducting a review of the officers’ use of force. This will occur after the conclusion of the criminal and administrative investigations are complete.

This story was first reported by James Howell Jr at WRTVin Indianapolis.