Troubled city man, 28, dies after police struggle in home

August 10, 1996|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A 28-year-old mentally retarded man died yesterday shortly after three city police officers struggled to subdue him in his Northeast Baltimore house.

Michael Clemons, who lived with relatives in the 1900 block of E. 29th St., was pronounced dead on arrival at Union Memorial Hospital. Police said an autopsy will be performed.

The three police officers involved in the scuffle were identified as James Billing and Frank Hubbard, from the Northeastern District, and David Paugh, who drives a police wagon.

The officers were placed on routine administrative duties PTC pending the outcome of an investigation.

But Agent Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a police spokesman, said that the officers "acted within the scope of their authority in attempting to provide immediate psychological and medical treatment" for Clemons.

Police said relatives called officers about 12: 20 p.m., saying Clemons was out of control and tearing up the house. Police said relatives told them Clemons had a history of violent behavior.

Weinhold said officers arrived and decided that Clemons "was in need of immediate psychological help and evaluation."

Weinhold said Clemons "violently struggled" with the officers when they tried to handcuff him. "One individual in the household stated that he threw an officer across the room," Weinhold said.

The spokesman said that when officers had secured leg irons on the man and were handcuffing him, "they realized he was becoming unresponsive." Clemons stopped breathing, and officers tried to resuscitate him until an ambulance arrived.

During the incident, Paugh suffered chest pains and was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where he was treated and released, Weinhold said.

Pub Date: 8/10/96

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