A Baltimore area man died Wednesday, three days after a violent confrontation with police, who were called by the man’s fiancee after he began acting “crazy.”
Baltimore County Police arrived on scene in Essex, Maryland, at 3:09 a.m. Sunday, following up on multiple calls of a possible domestic disturbance.
Police say they found 21-year-old Tawon Boyd and his fiancee screaming at each other, with the woman telling officers Boyd had been acting “crazy” and seemed to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
A police report describes Boyd as being “confused and paranoid, sweating heavily,” adding he reacted to officers’ questioning by running to ― and attempting to enter ― several patrol cars and banging on neighbors’ doors.
Boyd failed to respond to police instructions to get on the ground and place his hands behind his back, they say, at which point officers, determined to take him for an emergency evaluation, attempted to subdue him physically.
“There were punches thrown by him and also by the officers,” Baltimore County Police spokesperson Elise Armacost told CBS. “That’s what a physical struggle is. It’s a violent struggle, he’s ripping off their badges and ripping off the cords to their radios, and we’re talking about a physical struggle involving hands.”
None of the officers were wearing body cameras, Armacost said.
Boyd’s grandmother Linda Burch witnessed the confrontation, and told the Baltimore Sun she thought the officers used more force than necessary.
“He was just hollering and screaming on the ground, and they just kept pushing him down, pushing him down, on his shoulder and back and stuff, hitting him,” Burch said. “He was trying to get them off of him.”
Police said three officers sustained non life-threatening injuries in the incident.
Medics responded, and after Boyd attempted to rip through his restraints, four officers physically held him down while paramedics administered an undisclosed treatment. (The treatment was redacted from the report because of medical privacy laws.)
“Boyd became so calm [after the treatment] they asked a medic to check the suspect for a pulse,” the report notes, but officers said they “could clearly see he was still breathing.”
Boyd family lawyer Latoya Francis-Williams told the Associated Press Boyd’s heart and kidneys failed, but a specific cause of death has yet to be determined, following a cause of death report by the medical examiner. She said regardless of what the autopsy reveals, ultimately the police are responsible.
“He didn’t have those bruises. He wasn’t battered before this. He wasn’t unconscious before this,” Francis-Williams said. “All of the physical injuries came from the severe beating he took on Sunday.”