DECATUR, Ala. – Decatur Police say the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency is investigating the death of a man who was in police custody on Sunday morning.
Police say at about 3:15 a.m. a Decatur police officer working an off-duty job at the Walmart on Spring Avenue SW. The store manager approached the officer about a man who appeared to be sleeping in the handicap stall of one of the restrooms. The officer found the man asleep on the floor.
When the officer woke up the man, he said he was okay and admitted he had been “huffing” compressed air. The officer found a can of Industrial Strength Ultra Duster in the stall.
A police report says the man appeared to be extremely intoxicated. He was subsequently charged with Public Intoxication and Shoplifting.
Before the man was placed into police custody, he told the officer he had had an upset stomach for several days and felt like he was going to be sick. The officer took him to a garbage can where the man forced himself to vomit. Police say the man threw up one more time before being placed into a police car to be taken to the jail.
Police say the man vomited again upon arriving at the jail. He was then taken to the Decatur-Morgan Hospital ER for examination.
Officers say the got the man to the hospital at about 4:25 a.m. He continued to vomit. After going through the initial admissions screening and x-rays, he was returned to the ER waiting room where he continued to vomit and drifted in and out of sleep.
At approximately 6:20am, ER personnel advised the officer that a bed was available. The officer attempted to wake the man but he was unresponsive. Additional ER personnel were called and began CPR while moving him to the treatment area.
Police say about ten minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
The Decatur Police Department Criminal Investigation Division was notified and responded to Decatur-Morgan Hospital. Additionally, Chief Nadis Carlisle contacted the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and requested their investigators conduct an independent review of the incident. Decatur Police say this is customary in any situation involving the death of an individual in police custody.
Decatur police say the man told officers he was homeless. Investigators are not releasing his name because they are trying to locate his next of kin.