North Carolina DA won’t press charges for death of Black man hogtied in police custody

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A Greensboro, N.C., prosecutor has chosen not to charge local police for misconduct following the death of Black man who died after being placed in a Ripp Hobble restraining device.

According the Rhino Times, this week, newly retired Guilford County District Attorney Doug Henderson sent a letter to Police Chief Wayne Scott explaining his findings after a probe was done by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

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Scott believes that despite the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of Marcus Deon Smith in September, the officers present acted responsibly and within the law.

“It was concluded that from the overall death investigation and postmortem examination that the cause of death was a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest due in part to the prone restraint, a combination of illicit drugs and alcohol, and hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” said Henderson in a letter obtained by the Times on January 4th.

Although the North Carolina medical examiner’s office’s autopsy report ruled 38-year-old Smith’s death a homicide, Henderson still believes there was no misconduct.

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“Left for this Office’s determination is whether those actions by the officers provide a basis for a criminal homicide by committing a culpably negligent act,” he elaborated in his memo. “The unequivocal answer is that there is no evidence to substantiate a basis for criminal charges in this matter.”

The Smith family’s attorney, Graham Holt, said his clients are understandably disappointed in the decision.

During a transport to the Hospital, Smith was restrained using the Ripp device, which binds the ankles and includes a strap that is used to attach the ankles to the handcuffs shackling the subject’s hands behind the back.

Henderson maintains that Smith wasn’t taken to the hospital using what is commonly known as a hogtie but did admit that the medical examiner said the device contributed to his death.

 

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