The deaths of Eric Garner, who was put in a chokehold by an NYPD officer in July, and Ronald Singleton, who died in custody four days prior, have now both been ruled homicides by the New York City Medical Examiner. Garner's death was ruled a homicide in the beginning of August.
In a statement released by the Medical Examiner on Friday, it said that Ronald Singleton, a 45-year-old black man who had been reportedly high on PCP when he was alerted to police by a taxi driver, was put into a forcible restraint by the NYPD on July 13. Singleton had been acting erratically when the police came to the scene.
Singleton, who was African-American, was taken into police custody after a yellow cab driver flagged down a police officer near St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan, police said in a statement. The cab driver claimed the passenger was "acting overly irate and irrational, cursing and screaming and causing alarm," according to the statement.
Singleton got out of the taxi and "became combative with the officer, trying to fight with him," the police statement said.
Emergency officials put Singleton in a protective body wrap as he was on his way to the hospital, at which point he suffered a heart attack, and was dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital. The medical examiner noted that Singleton's obesity as well as hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease could have contributed to his death. The ruling was ultimately that his death was a homicide.
In declaring the manner of death a homicide, the medical examiner's office is not suggesting a crime was committed, but is stating its conclusion that the intervention of the police played a role in the death.
Both the death of Eric Garner and Ronald Singleton are under investigation. Though no disciplinary action has been taken against police officers involved in the death of Ronald Singleton, "the Staten Island district attorney, Daniel M. Donovan Jr., has said he would call a special grand jury that could bring charges against the officer who dragged Mr. Garner to the ground," the New York Times reports.
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